Searcy Denney filed yet another lawsuit today against DePuy, an international medical device manufacturer that is a division of Johnson & Johnson. This latest lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Vero Beach, Florida resident who was implanted with two DePuy Pinnacle hip implants in 2004 at Indian River Medical Center. One of those hip implants failed after causing years of pain and suffering for the Plaintiff. The DePuy Pinnacle hip implants that were surgically inserted into this Plaintiff were metal-on-metal hip implants, a design that became very popular a few years ago.
The metal-on-metal hip implants were aggressively promoted to surgeons for use in younger patients. The sales pitch was that the metal-on-metal hip implants would last for at least 15 years or longer and so younger patients would require fewer painful hip implant revision surgeries over their lifetimes. Older implant models, such as those which utilize a plastic or polyethylene liner, have an average life span of approximately 10 years.
Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of patients and their surgeons were duped by DePuy, Zimmer, Wright Medical, Smith & Nephew, Biomet and other hip implant manufacturers who were active participants in the metal-on-metal hip implant market. When the DePuy ASR MoM hip implant was recalled in August of 2010, there was an awakening of patients and doctors to the special risks associated with metal-on-metal hip implants. Over the past two years, tens of thousands of patients have had to undergo painful revision surgeries to remove faulty MoM hip implants, including the Plaintiff involved in today’s lawsuit filing.
These Plaintiffs have also been seriously injured by defects in the metal-on-metal hip implants, which are now known to cause significant damage to bones and soft tissues, which may impair a patient’s ability to ever have a successful implant. This bone and soft tissue necrosis can lead to a poor fit of the new implant, multiple dislocations, migration of the implant, and other serious and debilitating conditions. The breakdown of the metal-on-metal articulating surfaces also subjects patients to long-term (and unknown) risks associated with heavy metal poisoning from cobalt and chromium, including visual disturbances, hearing loss, and possibly cancer.
The Vero Beach Plaintiff who filed this recent lawsuit has been diagnosed with metallosis. He has abnormal levels of cobalt and chromium in his bloodstream due to the MoM implant, which means that the implant is leaching metal ions into the surrounding tissue and ultimately throughout his body.
There are currently more than 10,000 individual lawsuits not class action claims pending against DePuy that have been filed by patients who were injured by the recalled DePuy ASR hip implant. Several thousand additional lawsuits have also been filed against DePuy by patients who were implanted with the defective (but not recalled) Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant. Sadly, some patients were implanted with both the ASR as well as Pinnacle models, as DePuy tried to steer surgeons and patients away from the ASR when the excessive failure rate was first noticed by DePuy (which was long before the public learned about this problem).
This lawsuit is one of a number of Pinnacle and ASR lawsuits filed by Searcy Denney on behalf of clients from Florida as well as other parts of the country. This case will likely be transferred from the Florida state court to the pending multidistrict litigation (also known as an MDL) in Dallas, Texas, where several thousand other individual lawsuits filed over the defective Pinnacle MoM device are pending.