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DePuy MDL Begins Discovery

Federal lawsuits dealing with the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system and complications thereof were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation lawsuit in May of 2011. More than 1,600 cases are currently consolidated in the multidistrict litigation case, where they are pending. The MDL is located in the United States’ District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and pretrial discovery for the lawsuits is currently taking place. Judge Ed Kinkeade is currently overseeing the Pinnacle MDL and has issued a Case Management Order as of the 7th of May, 2012, that began discovery and outlined the procedures by which it should take place. Discovery procedures need to be balanced so that plaintiffs may have access to key evidence, but trade secrets of the company involved, DePuy, are kept under wraps. Bellwether trials are still not scheduled for this lawsuit.

DePuy Lawsuits Sparked by Revisions

A number of lawsuits have been filed against device maker DePuy because of the significant number of patients experienced complications associated with their Pinnacle hip replacement systems, some undergoing DePuy hip revision surgery. The devices failed more often than traditional hip replacement systems. Some experts believe that this is because the Pinnacle is available as a metal-on-metal hip replacement system. Lawsuits claim that all-metal hip implants can sometimes fail well ahead of the expected 15 year life-span of the models’ older cousins, made of different materials.

Metal-on-metal hip replacement systems are also problematic because they cause a condition known as metallosis, which manifests when the metal pieces grind against one another and small metal particles are released into the surrounding tissues. Cobalt and chromium can leach into the bloodstream, causing DePuy metal poisoning and the destruction and bone and tissue surrounding the hip, which can increase the risk of complications such as loosening and dislocations.

Bellwether trials coming soon

Over 6,000 plaintiffs are currently involved in litigation against DePuy because of their Pinnacle and ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement systems. Each model has been separately consolidated in multidistrict litigation. The ASR MDL was established in December of 2010 in the United States’ District Court for the Northern District of Ohio under Judge David A. Katz. Like the Pinnacle MDL in Texas, the lawsuits were combined in order to streamline the legal process and expedite litigation.

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