Maurice Blackburn


Faulty hip implants: Australian class action lawsuit filed today

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Press Releases and Announcements – 28 February 2011

Leading class action law firm Maurice Blackburn has today launched legal action over faulty hip implants that have been used extensively in Australia over the past five years.

The devices were made in the UK by DePuy International Ltd and distributed in Australia by Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Ltd.*

Official figures show that between 2003 and 2009 over 5000 Australians  had these specific prosthetic hips implanted. Hundreds of Australians have either had to have them removed or will now need to because of the awful health problems experienced when the hips have failed.

Two types of metal-on-metal hip implants are involved – the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System.


Ben Slade, Maurice Blackburn NSW Principal said, “A vast number of people are affected by these faulty implants in Australia and internationally.  Australian surgeons began noticing problems with the ASR devices in 2007. The company withdrew them from sale in Australia in December 2009, but this was too late for many people who have been left with serious health problems that continue even after the painful operation to remove and replace them with safe devices.”
In March 2010, Johnson & Johnson issued a safety alert in Australia warning of concerns with the DePuy ASR implants and in August 2010 issued a more significant “hazard alert”.

“So far, DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have been quite constructive by paying for some medical costs incurred by victims but these faulty implants can impact in a range of ways   including economic loss and the costs of carers, not to mention the compensation that is due for pain and suffering,” said Mr Slade.
“These devices can cause problems that make it harder for a second hip replacement to be successful, after the faulty implant is removed. Sadly, many people have greatly reduced quality of life and reduced mobility if they have to suffer faulty prosthetic hip replacement surgery.”

“The most efficient legal avenue for affected Australians is a class action, as it will generate a fair compensation regime for all those who have suffered a significant injury.”

Maurice Blackburn alleges that DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have breached the Commonwealth Trade Practices Act 1974 by selling a product that was not fit for its purpose and was not of merchantable quality.  It is also alleged that the companies have been negligent because they failed in their duty of care to users of these implants. The class action will be conducted in the Federal Court in Sydney.

Class action lead applicant Tammy Stanford

The lead applicant in the Maurice Blackburn class action is Tammy Stanford, a 40 year old Hobart woman.

Mrs Stanford had a left hip replacement in late 2005 as a result of developmental dysplasia of the hip. In mid 2010 she began to develop ever worsening symptoms and at the end of the year her surgeon recommended revision surgery.  After surgery in January 2011 it was found that Mrs Stanford’s hip joint was inflamed and that the tissue around her hip joint and her bone had degenerated.

Mrs Stanford is a high school teacher, and mother of two.  She is not able to return to classroom work and is still on crutches and pain relief medication.
“I’m concerned for my health and for my quality of life. I had this implant in for five years and I don’t know what the long term impacts are. I don’t want to suffer in silence on this. I feel like I have been a guinea pig for this company.

“I’ve seen how hard it is for older people with hip replacements but they need to be checked out if they are having problems.”

Symptoms experienced by people with the ASR devices include people whose DePuy ASR devices fail are commonly experiencing pain, swelling and a decreased range of movement, usually caused by inflammation.

In its hazard alert in August 2010, Johnson & Johnson said that some patients may develop progressive soft tissue reactions to metal wear debris, which can cause soft tissue damage which in turn compromises the results of revision surgery. Higher than normal cobalt and chromium ion levels are also observable in some patients.

Maurice Blackburn is has previously secured compensation in 2004 for people who had faulty knee implants made by Smith & Nephew and its lawyers have long experience with other legal action over faulty medical devices.

Leading class action law firm Maurice Blackburn has today launched legal action over faulty hip implants that have been used extensively in Australia over the past five years.

The devices were made in the UK by DePuy International Ltd and distributed in Australia by Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Ltd.*

Official figures show that between 2003 and 2009 over 5000 Australians**  had these specific prosthetic hips implanted. Hundreds of Australians have either had to have them removed or will now need to because of the awful health problems experienced when the hips have failed.

Two types of metal-on-metal hip implants are involved – the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System.

Ben Slade, Maurice Blackburn NSW Principal said, “A vast number of people are affected by these faulty implants in Australia and internationally.  Australian surgeons began noticing problems with the ASR devices in 2007. The company withdrew them from sale in Australia in December 2009, but this was too late for many people who have been left with serious health problems that continue even after the painful operation to remove and replace them with safe devices.”

In March 2010, Johnson & Johnson issued a safety alert in Australia warning of concerns with the DePuy ASR implants and in August 2010 issued a more significant “hazard alert”.

“So far, DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have been quite constructive by paying for some medical costs incurred by victims but these faulty implants can impact in a range of ways   including economic loss and the costs of carers, not to mention the compensation that is due for pain and suffering,” said Mr Slade.

“These devices can cause problems that make it harder for a second hip replacement to be successful, after the faulty implant is removed. Sadly, many people have greatly reduced quality of life and reduced mobility if they have to suffer faulty prosthetic hip replacement surgery.”

“The most efficient legal avenue for affected Australians is a class action, as it will generate a fair compensation regime for all those who have suffered a significant injury.”

Maurice Blackburn alleges that DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have breached the Commonwealth Trade Practices Act 1974 by selling a product that was not fit for its purpose and was not of merchantable quality.  It is also alleged that the companies have been negligent because they failed in their duty of care to users of these implants. The class action will be conducted in the Federal Court in Sydney.

Class action lead applicant Tammy Stanford

The lead applicant in the Maurice Blackburn class action is Tammy Stanford, a 40 year old Hobart woman.

Mrs Stanford had a left hip replacement in late 2005 as a result of developmental dysplasia of the hip. In mid 2010 she began to develop ever worsening symptoms and at the end of the year her surgeon recommended revision surgery.  After surgery in January 2011 it was found that Mrs Stanford’s hip joint was inflamed and that the tissue around her hip joint and her bone had degenerated.

Mrs Stanford is a high school teacher, and mother of two.  She is not able to return to classroom work and is still on crutches and pain relief medication.

“I’m concerned for my health and for my quality of life. I had this implant in for five years and I don’t know what the long term impacts are. I don’t want to suffer in silence on this. I feel like I have been a guinea pig for this company.

“I’ve seen how hard it is for older people with hip replacements but they need to be checked out if they are having problems.”

Symptoms experienced by people with the ASR devices include

People whose DePuy ASR devices fail are commonly experiencing pain, swelling and a decreased range of movement, usually caused by inflammation.

In its hazard alert in August 2010, Johnson & Johnson said that some patients may develop progressive soft tissue reactions to metal wear debris, which can cause soft tissue damage which in turn compromises the results of revision surgery. Higher than normal cobalt and chromium ion levels are also observable in some patients.

Maurice Blackburn is has previously secured compensation in 2004 for people who had faulty knee implants made by Smith & Nephew and its lawyers have long experience with other legal action over faulty medical devices.

*DePuy and Johnson & Johnson are subsidiaries of the US based global health care company Johnson & Johnson, Inc.

*According to the Australian Orthopaedic Association’s National Joint Replacement Registry (NJRR), which collects data on joint replacements, approximately 5,558 ASR implants were used in Australia between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2009.  Data for the 2010 calendar year is not yet available from the NJRR.

**DePuy and Johnson & Johnson are subsidiaries of the US based global health care company Johnson & Johnson, Inc.


DePuy ASR hip implants class action

The class action is against the UK based company, DePuy International Ltd, which manufactured the DePuy ASR hip implants, and against Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Limited, which distributed and sold the DePuy ASR hip implants within Australia.

It is alleged that the DePuy ASR hip implants were not fit for their purpose and were not of merchantable quality in contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), and that DePuy and Johnson & Johnson were negligent.
What are DePuy ASR hip implants?

The DePuy ASR hip implants are a series of metal components used as artificial hip prostheses in the DePuy ASR Articular Surface Replacement System, the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System or the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System. These DePuy ASR hip implant systems were designed and manufactured to be used in total hip replacement or hip resurfacing surgery.
Statistics maintained by the Australian Orthopaedic Association’s National Joint Replacement Registry show that between 2003 and 2009 over 5,000 DePuy ASR implants were surgically implanted in Australia.

In December 2009, Johnson & Johnson withdrew the DePuy ASR hip implants from sale in Australia. In March 2010, Johnson & Johnson issued a Safety Alert in relation to the DePuy ASR hip implants and in August 2010 it issued a Hazard Alert.
Who is affected by the class action?

The DePuy hip implants class action is being conducted on behalf of all patients who have had one or more DePuy ASR components surgically implanted by a doctor in Australia.
If successful, the DePuy hip implants class action will benefit all patients who have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of being implanted with a DePuy ASR hip implant.
You should consult your doctor if you are uncertain as to whether you have a DePuy ASR hip implant.

Where can I obtain further information?

Maurice Blackburn is conducting the DePuy hip implants class action on a “no win no fee” basis. This means that if you retain Maurice Blackburn you will not need to pay any legal costs unless we recover compensation for you.

If you are interested in knowing more about the DePuy class action or you wish to consider retaining Maurice Blackburn to protect your rights, freecall 1800 810 856 or email jschimmel@mauriceblackburn.com.au.

On 28 February 2011, Maurice Blackburn commenced the DePuy ASR hip implants class action in the Federal Court of Australia.

The class action is against the UK based company, DePuy International Ltd, which manufactured the DePuy ASR hip implants, and against Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Limited, which distributed and sold the DePuy ASR hip implants within Australia.

It is alleged that the DePuy ASR hip implants were not fit for their purpose and were not of merchantable quality in contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), and that DePuy and Johnson & Johnson were negligent.
What are DePuy ASR hip implants?

The DePuy ASR hip implants are a series of metal components used as artificial hip prostheses in the DePuy ASR Articular Surface Replacement System, the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System or the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System. These DePuy ASR hip implant systems were designed and manufactured to be used in total hip replacement or hip resurfacing surgery.

Statistics maintained by the Australian Orthopaedic Association’s National Joint Replacement Registry show that between 2003 and 2009 over 5,000 DePuy ASR implants were surgically implanted in Australia.

In December 2009, Johnson & Johnson withdrew the DePuy ASR hip implants from sale in Australia. In March 2010, Johnson & Johnson issued a Safety Alert in relation to the DePuy ASR hip implants and in August 2010 it issued a Hazard Alert.

Who is affected by the class action?

The DePuy hip implants class action is being conducted on behalf of all patients who have had one or more DePuy ASR components surgically implanted by a doctor in Australia.

If successful, the DePuy hip implants class action will benefit all patients who have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of being implanted with a DePuy ASR hip implant.

You should consult your doctor if you are uncertain as to whether you have a DePuy ASR hip implant.
Where can I obtain further information?

Maurice Blackburn is conducting the DePuy hip implants class action on a “no win no fee” basis. This means that if you retain Maurice Blackburn you will not need to pay any legal costs unless we recover compensation for you.

If you are interested in knowing more about the DePuy class action or you wish to consider retaining Maurice Blackburn to protect your rights, freecall 1800 810 856 or email mailto: jschimmel@mauriceblackburn.com.au.


Class action over faulty hip implants

From: AAP
February 28, 2011 11:48AM

A CLASS action has been launched after hip implants used by more than 5000 Australians were found to be faulty.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn filed the lawsuit today against UK manufacturer DePuy and its Australian distributor Johnson and Johnson over the faulty hip implants used by patients extensively in the past five years.

A “hazard alert” was issued to surgeons by DePuy last August when the devices were found to have a failure rate of 12 to 13 per cent over a five-year period.

Figures from the Australian Orthopaedic Association’s joint replacement registry shows that between 2003 and 2009 more than 5000 Australians had the faulty prosthetic hips implanted and will now need to have them removed.

When the metal-on-metal devices fail, users commonly experience pain, swelling and a decreased range of movement, usually caused by inflammation.

Maurice Blackburn NSW principal solicitor Ben Slade said the implants were designed to last 15 years.

“One of the problems that appears to happen is that the metal wear debris gets into the bloodstream and causes soft tissue reaction and also degradation of the bone around the hip,” Mr Slade told AAP.

“The longer you keep these devices in, the probability of more difficult revision surgery is increased as time goes on.

“It also means that the new hip can’t grab as effectively to the bone and the bone doesn’t grow over the hip implant as effectively as it would have had this not occurred.”

He said the recall of devices was too late for many people left with serious health problems that can continue even after an operation to remove and replace them with safe devices.

Lead class action applicant Tammy Stanford, 40, has been unable to return to work as a Hobart high school teacher after she developed worsening symptoms following a left hip replacement in late 2005.

By the end of 2010, revision surgery found Ms Stanford’s hip joint was inflamed and that the tissue around the joint and her bone had degenerated.

“I’m concerned for my health and for my quality of life,” Ms Stanford said.

“I had this implant in for five years and I don’t know what the long term impacts are. I don’t want to suffer in silence on this.

“I’ve seen how hard it is for older people with hip replacements but they need to be checked out if they are having problems.”

The class action will seek compensation for personal injuries caused by pain and suffering, economic loss and carer costs.

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