Moira Jackson is one of over 10,000 people who are bringing lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson subsidiary, DePuy for complications and injuries sustained because of defective hip replacements manufactured by DePuy. After receiving two artificial hip implants, Moira claims that she was unable to lead a normal life because of injuries and pain that were caused by the implants. What makes the former professional dancer from Maryland’s case so special is that it may be the one that sets the precedent for all 10,000 of the lawsuits to follow. Johnson and Johnson claims no wrong doing and that their hip replacements— which they admitted have a failure rate of over twelve percent— were approved by the FDA for use.
Recall of Defective Metal Hips
DePuy recalled over 90,000 of its hip replacements in 2010 due to defects in the socket, where metal on metal contact between the stem and the socket caused pain, swelling and tissue death in the surrounding area. The metal fragmentation has also been linked to toxic levels of metal in the blood, which poses a life threatening condition. Patients with this condition need to have their blood monitored for the rest of their lives to make sure that metal levels do not reach poisonous levels. The number of lawsuits DePuy is facing over the defective hip replacements may continue to rise well past the roughly 10,000 lawsuits it is defending against currently and the company has already spent over $800 million on its recall.
Johnson and Johnson Claims No Wrongdoing?
Even though DePuy was forced to recall over 90,000 of its hip replacements, Johnson and Johnson insists that patients were fully informed of the risk posed by electing to use the hip replacements and that the approval obtained by the FDA for the products exonerates DePuy from any liability. Moira Jackson claims that at no point was she informed that the hip replacements she received might fail or put her at risk of metal toxicity. According to her surgeon, the hip replacements may cause cancer or increase a patient’s risk of developing cancer in addition to the injuries caused to the joint by metal fragmentation when the metal pieces of the hip replacements grind against each other.
The Impact of Jackson’s Case on Similar DePuy Lawsuits
Moira Jackson is seeking $15 million in damages because her life has been changed permanently after her hip replacement failures. Her case is going to be heard following three private settlements that Johnson and Johnson paid out totaling $600,000. The amount of damages that Jackson is awarded may change the entire ballgame, affecting the cost of settlement or the rulings in the 10,000 cases that are yet to be heard. In the state of Ohio, many of the lawsuits against DePuy have been consolidated and will be heard in May, less than six months after the Jackson case is ruled.
A victory for Moira Jackson will undoubtedly encourage more victims of DePuy’s faulty hip replacements to come forward and could pave the way for much higher judgments and settlements than Johnson and Johnson has needed to face so far. This would be good news for thousands of people who have had their lives changed by a poorly produced product that was supposed to enhance their lives rather than change them for the worse.