1. What is this lawsuit all about?
2. Do I have a case against DePuy?
3. How can I tell if I have a DePuy hip implant?
4. I already know a lawyer I trust. Shouldn't I work with him/her to bring a lawsuit against DePuy?
5. What's the difference between a mass action, a class action, and an individual lawsuit?
6. Won't my case get lost in the crowd if I join a mass action lawsuit?
7. s it a good idea to hire an out-of-state firm? What if the lawsuit is moved to another state?
8. What if I cannot afford an attorney?
9. Am I in any immediate danger?
10. Are you going to sue my doctor? Did s/he know these implants were defective?
11. What is wrong with these hip implants and what are the risks to my health?
12. What is metallosis?
13. Do I need a revision surgery?
14. Will I have to wait for revision surgery if I become part of a mass action lawsuit?
15. DePuy is offering to replace my hip and pay for the surgery. Won't that fix the problem?
16. I'm not in any pain. Does that mean my implant is okay?
17. How much is my case worth?
18. What should I do right now?
What is this lawsuit all about?
93,000 people have received DePuy hip implants since they were released in 2003. DePuy claimed the metal-on-metal design would eliminate many of the problems other models caused. DePuy intended for its design to last longer and require fewer surgeries over time, lowering the risk to the patient and causing less trauma to the surrounding tissue and bone overall.
Those promises are the opposite of what actually happened.
The evidence indicates that DePuy knew its implants were failing at an unusually high rate but waited several years before notifying the public and issuing a recall. During that period, a presently unknown number of patients received faulty implants - along with the health risks associated with metal poisoning, bone and tissue deterioration, pain and suffering and increased need for early future surgeries.
We believe DePuy rushed the product to market without sufficient testing through a loophole in the FDA approval process, inaccurately representing the ASR Acetabular system and claiming it was "substantially equivalent" to other devices that had not been clinically tested. Given the extraordinarily high 13% reported failure rate (which some studies show may actually be as high as 30%), we believe DePuy misrepresented their product to the FDA, the doctors who would be installing it and to those patients who received it.
We anticipate that many of the people who received DePuy hip implants will suffer severe health consequences as a result, and for those that hire us, we intend to seek compensation for their medical bills, unnecessary pain, disability and lost mobility as well as lost income where appropriate.
Do I have a case against DePuy?
If you have a DePuy hip implant, we believe you may very well have a case against the company.
How can I tell if I have a DePuy hip implant?
The easiest and simplest way is to ask your doctor what type of hip implant you have, or check your medical records. If you do not have access to your medical records or cannot reach your doctor, please contact our offices and we'll do our best to help you determine what kind of hip implant you have. Also, we know DePuy told the Doctors in August to set up blood tests, so if your doctor asked you to come in for a blood test recently, you likely have the recalled hip
I already know a lawyer I trust. Shouldn't I work with him/her to bring a lawsuit against DePuy?
We appreciate that you may prefer to work with someone you know and trust, perhaps a member of your family or a good friend. However, very few lawyers are qualified to engage in a national mass action lawsuit, and even fewer are acquainted with the defense team of Johnson & Johnson (the parent company of DePuy) or have extensive experience in federal court. Those qualifications are essential to bring a successful lawsuit against a company as large and well-funded as DePuy.
A second problem with using your local personal lawyer is that it is likely he or she will want to file an individual lawsuit in your local district court, which means you will lose many critical advantages that come with filing a mass action lawsuit.
What's the difference between a mass action, a class action, and an individual lawsuit?
We've recently written several articles to clarify the difference between a mass action and a class action as well as the difference between a mass action and an individual lawsuit, but here are the pros and cons of each in a nutshell:
* Individual lawsuit - You'll get to work with your own lawyer and receive personal attention. However, it is very likely that DePuy can pour more money into your case than your lawyer can - and with thousands of potential plaintiffs, DePuy is willing to spend even more money than your case is worth so that they can set a precedent.
* Class action - Class actions are brought when the damages to individuals are so nearly identical that they can be treated as a single case. They are much cheaper to bring than individual lawsuits, which gives an advantage. However, the DePuy case will not be certified as a class action because the damages are highly individualized. There are also many other disadvantages to class action lawsuits.
* Mass action - Mass action lawsuits are similar to individual lawsuits in that there is a great deal of attention paid to your personal case. They are similar to class actions in that many people can bring a stronger lawsuit against a large corporation by banding together. Mass action lawsuits give lawyers the advantage they need to take on the imposing legal team that corporations are capable of putting together.
Won't my case get lost in the crowd if I join a mass action lawsuit?
Not when you work with us. Our lawyers make it a point to communicate with all clients effectively and to make sure they know as much about each case as possible. It's important that your story is heard and that you receive fair compensation for the damages you personally have suffered. If you'd like to test us on that point, please feel free to give our offices a call at 1-800-677-7095. You'll be speaking directly to one of our senior partners just as soon as we can get him to a phone.
Is it a good idea to hire an out-of-state firm? What if the lawsuit is moved to another state?
In a mass action lawsuit such as this one, most cases will actually be brought to a federal court, which means it is very likely that your lawsuit will not be brought in the state in which you live. Rather than seeking a local lawyer, it's best to find one with experience in national mass action lawsuits. We have decades of experience and have won many high-profile mass action suits against large corporations including Shell Chemical, Prudential-Bache, and Tenet Healthcare. We have teamed up with an excellent and well-known law firm, The Law Offices of Howard L. Nations, who has not only successfully taken on DePuy's parent company Johnson & Johnson in the past, but who also currently has clients in all 50 states.
What if I cannot afford an attorney?
We will be representing patients with DePuy hip implants under a 33 1/3 before suit, 40% after suit is filed contingency fee agreement. We will advance the expenses of pursuing the case, which means you will not owe us any attorneys' fees or case expenses unless we make a recovery on your behalf. The 40% will be calculated from the gross recovery and expenses will be deducted after the attorneys' fees from the client's share.
Some states have laws that limit the percentage of attorneys' fees in cases like this and in those states, such laws will control our fee.
Am I in any immediate danger?
We do not believe you are in an emergency situation, nor do we believe you have any reason to panic.
However, the medical risks of your hip implant are such that you should immediately give your doctor a call. We highly recommend that you tell him or her of any problems you have experienced with your hip implant as well as request a blood test for heavy metal poisoning, particularly chromium and cobalt.
If your doctor believes you have reason to be concerned, he or she may advise a revision surgery. If you decide to get a revision surgery, please be sure that you specifically ask to keep the old hip implant once it is removed. It is your best evidence in your case against DePuy, and the company has already been taking steps to undermine this very basic right to keep your own medical information and devices.
Are you going to sue my doctor? Did s/he know these implants were defective?
We are not going to sue anyone's doctor.
To the best of our knowledge, the medical professionals who used DePuy implants for their patients acted in good faith and with reason to believe the was suitable for its intended use and appropriate for your condition. Our investigation indicates this device was promoted as the "Rolls Royce" of hip implants: more expensive, but also much better quality and longer lasting. Doctors recommended the hip implant on the strength of those claims and with full faith that it had been properly tested by the FDA. We believe they, like you, were misled by DePuy, which withheld important information about the device to get it through the FDA approval process without clinical testing.
We don't believe your doctor should have to suffer the consequences for DePuy's actions.
DePuy was negligent and DePuy should be held accountable.
What is wrong with these hip implants and what are the risks to my health?
The new DePuy hip implants have a ball and socket that are both made of metal. DePuy claimed its metal-on-metal hip implants would last longer than other alternatives on the market (plastic or ceramic models, for example).
The design of the implant, however, created several problems with serious medical consequences (this article shows how the ASR XL Acetabular System is constructed). The engineering of the ball (called the femoral head) and the socket (called the acetabular cup) meant that the two parts of the implant ground against each other, causing friction. The friction released extremely high amounts of metal ions into the surrounding bone and tissue.
Patients who have already been seen by doctors have experienced bone deterioration, tissue damage, metal sensitivity, metal poisoning, and metallosis.
What is metallosis?
Metallosis is a reaction to the immune system attacking metal objects within the body. In the case of the DePuy hip implants, the immune system reacts to the amount of metal being released into the bloodstream and concludes that the implant is a foreign body that needs to be attacked and destroyed.
As the immune system attempts to attack the foreign substance, it can over-compensate and kill healthy bone and soft tissue around the area. The surrounding area can also become infected, cutting off blood flow and leading to necrosis.
Metallosis has been linked directly to devices that release metal into the bloodstream via friction. We have a more complete article on metallosis here.
Do I need a revision surgery?
Right now, the best person to ask about whether a revision surgery is necessary is your doctor. If you are experiencing pain or any visible symptoms, we'd advise that you contact your doctor as soon as possible to see if a revision surgery is the right choice for you.
Will I have to wait for revision surgery if I become part of a mass action lawsuit?
No, but be forewarned that DePuy has been attempting both to get patients to sign over their rights to the removed hip implant itself as well as gain access to your medical records. If you choose to get a hip revision surgery, be sure you retain the removed hip implant and that your medical records remain private. Be direct with your doctor; he or she may be unaware that returning the hip implant to DePuy is not in your best interest, since DePuy is currently indicating that they only want the information to improve the design of the ASR Acetabular System.
DePuy is offering to replace my hip and pay for the surgery. Won't that fix the problem?
We're afraid not. Medically, many of the problems that we believe have been caused by the ASR Acetabular System will not be solved by removing the implant, and even if they were, you would still have to deal with the fact that every hip revision makes the next less likely to succeed.
Legally speaking, if you agree to DePuy's terms to pay for your hip replacement, it is very likely that you will have to waive your right to receive any other compensation from DePuy. The company has also made it very clear that in order to be compensated for the hip revision surgery, you will first need to sign over access to your medical records as well as the hip implant itself. This will give DePuy the upper hand in building a case against you. We strongly advise caution when considering DePuy's offer of a revision surgery.
I'm not in any pain. Does that mean my implant is okay?
Not necessarily. We have already seen several cases in which the patient was unaware of the damage being done by the hip implant. Again, your doctor is the best person to consult on whether the hip implant presents a serious danger to your health at the present time.
How much is my case worth?
Though mass action lawsuits are brought on behalf of many people, they actually receive settlements on an individual basis. This means your settlement will be directly tied to the damages you've suffered as well as many other factors such as loss of the ability to work, lost wages, life expectancy, the laws of your state and other factors.
What should I do right now?
Call our offices at 1-800-677-7095. We take a personal approach at our firm, and you will shortly be speaking to the lawyers who will be representing you. They will answer your questions and explain your options in greater detail.
We'll help you determine whether you received a DePuy hip implant and if so, advise you of your legal rights to receive fair compensation. We can also give you an idea of what to expect if you decide to hire us and pursue a lawsuit against DePuy.
The bottom line is that we're here to help, and we're happy to give you our best advice even if you choose to hire someone else or decide not pursue the lawsuit at all.