This latest individual lawsuit was filed on behalf of an Orlando woman who underwent hip implant surgery in late 2006 at Osceola Regional Medical Center by Dr. Michael Karr, a local orthopedic surgeon. She was implanted with a DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant which was manufactured and distributed by DePuy, a division of Johnson & Johnson, located in northern Indiana. In August of 2010, she was notified that her hip implant had been recalled by DePuy. This recall notice was issued by DePuy long after it first discovered that its metal-on-metal hip implants were defective. There had been evidence for several years prior to 2010 that showed that patients worldwide who were implanted with DePuy ASR hip implants were experiencing premature failure of the devices as well as metallosis, pseudotumor formation, and other serious complications. This Orlando woman was diagnosed with metallosis after lab tests confirmed elevated levels of cobalt and chromium in her bloodstream. In March of 2011, she underwent another painful hip arthroplasty surgery to remove the recalled DePuy implant. She and her husband are seeking damages for pain and suffering, unpaid medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and future medical expenses.
This lawsuit was filed in state court in Orange County, Florida, and also includes a local independent distributor and its sales representatives who were present in the operating room during the plaintiff’s surgeries and provided critical product information to the surgeon in addition to DePuy. Most of the several thousand lawsuits pending against DePuy are part of MDL No. 2197, the coordinated federal court proceedings involving the recalled DePuy ASR hip implants, which is pending before Judge David Katz in Toledo, Ohio. Judge Katz will be holding an important hearing on June 5, 2012, in Philadelphia, at which time he is expected to schedule the first trials in the MDL proceedings. It is likely that the individual cases that will be chosen for bellwether trial preparation and be eligible for these early trial settings will hail from either Northern Ohio or Southern Florida, as these are regions where Judge Katz holds hearings.