Johnson & Johnson’s Popularity is on the Rise in New Jersey Courts
New Jersey State Court Developments
On April 12, 2011, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued a Notice to the Bar centralizing all pending and future DePuy ASR hip lawsuits filed in New Jersey state courts. This means that all DePuy ASR hip lawsuits will be centralized and coordinated for pre-trial purposes before one judge. Although given the option, the Supreme Court chose not to designate the litigation as a “mass tort.” This does not mean that DePuy is any less responsible or culpable for injuries alleged by plaintiffs. The practical purpose of this decision is that going forward all of the DePuy ASR hip lawsuits will be centralized for coordinated management in order to avoid duplication and to prevent conflicts. However, because the cases did not satisfy New Jersey’s requirements under the Mass Tort Guidelines, the DePuy ASR hip lawsuits will not be consolidated. Judge Brian R. Martinotti, who sits in Bergen County, will oversee the centralized management of the state DePuy ASR hip lawsuits.
New Jersey Federal Court Developments
The U.S. District Court for New Jersey has also been engulfed into the DePuy ASR hip litigation. On April 19, 2011, a week after the state cases were centralized, the North Jersey Municipal Employee Benefits Fund, charged with managing health care benefits for workers in 25 cities in Northern new Jersey, filed a federal class action lawsuit against DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson on behalf of the fund’s members who were injured by the defective DePuy ASR hip implants. The fund’s managers are not only seeking compensation for medical expenses on behalf of the fund’s members who were forced to undergo revision surgery, but also damages related to Johnson & Johnson’s “wrongful profits, revenue and benefits.” What distinguishes this lawsuit from the hundreds of others that DePuy is currently defending is that this is a third-party payer action – the plaintiff is a benefit fund who paid for the recalled implants as well as the treatment of injuries for its members.