With more than 10,000 lawsuits already in the mix, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) must deal with yet another patient's allegation's that the company knowingly sold faulty metal hip implants and didn't warn the public.
The latest civil suit against J&J's DePuy Orthpaedics division is filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio, and will be bundled with a class action lawsuit involving more than 6,000 cases. An unnamed Texas man behind the case claims he has suffered greatly since undergoing surgery in 2006 to receive an ASR implant in his left hip. He alleges that he suffered constant hip pain that led to surgery in January 2013 to have the implant taken out. Now, he asserts, he's vulnerable to metal poisoning and hip bursitis and may need additional hip surgeries due to complications.
The law firm Wright & Schulte filed the civil suit on the Texas man's behalf on May 21, 2013.
J&J initiated a massive global recall in August 2012 after reports that its ASR all-metal hips had a high failure rate over the five years following implantation. Subsequent investigations reveal the failure rate reached as high as 40% within the first five years after surgery, the attorneys note. And they claim that J&J knew about the risks and never publicized them or notified patients about the ASR-hip problems.
Johnson & Johnson/DePuy has denied this. So far, the conglomerate lost one ASR hip implant lawsuit and won the other, with an anticipated payout for the lost case of about $8.3 million.
J&J is bailing out of the metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-metal hip business by the end of 2014, though the company denies it's because of the thousands of lawsuits it faces. J&J previously insisted the change is due to looming FDA regulations that will make the metal hip approval process much harder. The company also says clinical use of the products has plunged.
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