A California surgeon who helped design one of Johnson & Johnson’s metal hips—and later made $3.6 million in royalties on it—testified Feb. 22 that he filed complaints about the device with the company’s marketing department prior to the DePuy ASR hip recall because he wasn’t aware of another group assigned to investigate such matters.

New Discoveries Made in First Trial for DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuits

Bloomberg.com reports that earlier in the trial, which is the first in 10,000 DePuy ASR hip lawsuits to be scheduled in the U.S. and held in Los Angeles state court, Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit said company policy required all complaints be given to its vigilance and complaint department.

When the California surgeon was asked on cross-examination if this was where he sent his complaints, he said: “They don’t have a vigilance department.”

The Feb. 23 article stated that the surgeon was also asked about the head of that group, to which he responded, “I can’t put a face with that name.”

Ironically, the California doctor was originally called to the stand by Johnson & Johnson as a defense witness in this trial for a lawsuit brought by a retired prison guard who allegedly suffered injuries after receiving the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement. This device was recalled by the company in August 2010 after the product was shown to have excessively high failure rates.

Early Failure Rates Associated with DePuy ASR Hip Recall

At the time of the DePuy ASR hip recall, the failure rate reached 12 percent in the U.K., and has hit 40 percent in Australia since then.

The California surgeon has been paid $20 million by DePuy for work on other devices since 2000. He also worked to educate other surgeons on how to properly insert the ASR artificial hip into patients.

He said, “The practical problem we faced was getting the cup inserted in the right position. There was no cup that was not performing that was in proper position.”

There are approximately 10,000 DePuy ASR hip lawsuits pending in courts throughout the U.S., with many being held in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Following the mounting number of claims filed over this metal hip, along with more than 30 product recalls by Johnson & Johnson in just 3.5 years, the New York Times reported Feb. 22 that the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts and the civil division of the Justice Department sent the company an “informal request” about the ASR artificial hip in August 2012. Additional documents related to DePuy products have been requested, which Johnson & Johnson have willingly turned over to investigators.

Considering a DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuit? Contact Us.

If you suffered early failure rates, revision surgeries and other side effects associated with the DePuy ASR hip recall, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact a lawyer at Bernstein Liebhard LLP to learn more about DePuy ASR hip lawsuits by calling (877) 779-1414.

Published February 25, 2013 by