Johnson & Johnson to settle hip replacement lawsuits for $2.5 billion

Jessica M. Karmasek Nov. 20, 2013, 4:15pm

WARSAW, Ind. (Legal Newsline) -- Johnson & Johnson has agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits over defective all-metal replacement hips for $2.5 billion.

DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and a court-appointed committee of lawyers representing the Articular Surface Replacements Hip System plaintiffs announced the settlement agreement Tuesday.

Under the agreement, which was submitted to a federal judge in Ohio Tuesday, ASR patients who had surgery to replace their ASR hip as of Aug. 31 will be compensated.

"We are committed to the well-being of ASR patients, as demonstrated by the voluntary recall and the program providing support for recall-related care," said Andrew Ekdahl, worldwide president of DePuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction.

"The U.S. settlement program provides compensation for eligible patients without the delay and uncertainty of protracted litigation."

DePuy recalled the ASRs in 2010.

Since then, more than 10,000 people have sued in state and federal courts in the United States.

The metal-on-metal replacement began to fail soon after implantation, as opposed to plastic and metal hip implants. Those typically last 15 years or more.

With the DePuy replacement, metal flakes off into the body and causes tissue and bone damage.

The settlement is valued at about $2.5 billion, based on an estimate of 8,000 patients participating in the program.

Judge David Katz of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio is presiding over the federal multidistrict litigation.

The consolidated state litigations are presided over by: Judge Brian Martinotti of the New Jersey Superior Court, Bergen County; Judge Deborah Mary Dooling of the Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois; and Judge Richard Kramer of the San Francisco County Superior Court, California.

The settlement agreement was presented to these judges and Maryland State Court Judge Crystal Dixon Mittelstaedt at Tuesday's court hearing.

The agreement needs the support of more than 90 percent of those eligible claimants to move forward.

Even if it is approved, some lawsuits will remain, DePuy noted.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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