Jury selection begins in first J&J hip implants trial

Florida hip implant patients could be interested in the fact that, on Sept. 2, jury selection began in the first Johnson & Johnson metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuit. A 58-year-old Montana graphic designer brought the suit. She alleges that the chromium and cobalt material used in her artificial hips was the cause of pain that made surgical removal of the devices a necessity. She underwent the implant surgery in both hips in 2009 and had them removed in 2011, according to court filings. Prior to the surgeries to remove the implants, tests showed dangerous chromium and cobalt levels in her bloodstream that indicated levels of cobalt blood serum at 85 times higher than normal.

J&J, which is the largest health care company in the world, is facing 8,000 claims that their metal-on-metal version of ASR hip implants had a defective design that caused metal debris to leech into the bloodstreams of patients who received the implants. In August 2010, the company recalled 93,000 ASR hip implants, stating that 12 percent of them were failing within five years. However, the actual figure, according to internal company documents, was 37 percent in 4.6 years. The failure rate in Australia was 44 percent for a seven-year period.

In August 2013, J&J halted sales of the metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip. The company also agreed to pay insurance companies up to $1 billion for the costs of surgically removing ASR hips from affected patients.

When anyone finds themselves suffering from injuries caused by defective products like implants, they could hold the manufacturer accountable. Most civil claims of this nature can be resolved prior to any court proceedings. However, if the company denies liability, a trial may be necessary. If several claims are filed against a company for the same reason, they may be combined into a class-action lawsuit.

SourceBloomberg, “J&J’s Pinnacle Hips Face First Trial on Poisoned Patients“, Jef Feeley , September 02, 2014