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Suing over hip replacements

Another round of lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson for defective hip implants poisoning many patients may affect Kentucky residents. During 2013, the health care company designated $2.5 billion to account for 8,000 defective units produced under its DePuy subsidiary. The latest lawsuits target the metal-on-metal design hip replacements that have reportedly been releasing metallic debris into patients' bloodstreams. Lawyers' plaintiffs are asserting that the product erodes inside the patient because it was defectively designed.

The chromium and cobalt materials used in the products are the substances responsible for poisoning the patients, according to the lawsuits. More than 6,000 lawsuits are expected to go to trial. Many of these patients have required brand new hip replacements in order to recover from the damage. Some lawyers contend that if Johnson & Johnson begins losing the first of these Pinnacle lawsuits, the company may benefit from considering drafting a settlement agreement similar to the one made for ASR defects.

The Pinnacle replacements were not included in the $2.5 billion put toward settlement claims for the ASR defects. About 12 percent of the 93,000 ASR units failed or malfunctioned within the first five years. Research in Australia indicated that 44 percent of the units failed in less than seven years.

People who have suffered injuries due to defective medical equipment or products may benefit from meeting with legal counsel as early as possible. Lawyers could investigate the incidents and determine if a manufacturer or practitioner should be held liable for any resulting damages. Victims may be entitled to recover restitution to help account for corrective surgeries or any other related hardships.

Source: Bloomberg, "J&J’s Pinnacle Hips Face First Trial on Poisoned Patients", Jef Feeley, September 02, 2014

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