Many people still have the Depuy ASR hip components implanted in their bodies. I get calls from them. Some have elevated metal levels in their blood; others are telling me about pain in the hip area, popping sounds, and other problems. They are preparing to schedule revision surgery, and they want to know if they may qualify for compensation based on the settlements that have been reached with Depuy, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, the parent company.
These are good questions. I want to make sure you are aware of a nine-year window for undergoing revision surgery.
Two Settlement Agreements So Far
As I have explained in this blog, there have been two Depuy ASR settlement agreements, mostly identical in material terms. The major difference is that the first settlement agreement covered those who had undergone revision surgery prior to August 31, 2013. The second settlement covered those people who had revision surgery between August 31, 2013 and January 31, 2015.
No Settlement Agreement (Yet) for Recent Revision Surgeries
There has been no “third” settlement agreement. This means that there is currently no procedure in place to settle claims with individuals who received revision surgery after January 31, 2015. I suspect that a third settlement agreement (looking much like the first two) will eventually be established and announced. But as of today there is no agreement by which a person revised after January 31, 2015 can pursue settlement compensation with Depuy and J&J.
Length of Time Between Implant and Revision
The 2013 Settlement Agreement did not explicitly set out a cut-off date for settlement eligibility based on the length of time between implant surgery and revision surgery. In that agreement, to be an “Eligible United States Claimant,” you had to be a U.S. Patient, had implantation of the Depuy ASR, and underwent revision surgery.
The 2015 Settlement Agreement added a fourth condition: The time between implantation and revision surgery must be less than nine years. Which is to say, if nine years or more have passed between implantation surgery and revision surgery, you would not be eligible to participate in the settlements.
Nine-Year Cut Off
So that seems to be a bright line drawn in the sand: If you lived with the Depuy ASR hip in your body for nine years or longer, Depuy and J&J do not seem willing to recognize a compensable injury. (Note: This does not mean you cannot attempt to seek compensation outside the settlement scheme if you had revision beyond the nine-year cut-off. In fact you should. But it does signal that Depuy is not willing to recognize damages in cases where the individual lived with the Depuy ASR hip for nine years or longer.)
Example: if the Depuy ASR hip was implanted in your body on May 12, 2008, you would arguably have until May 11, 2017 to undergo revision surgery to be considered “eligible” for participation in any settlement.
Remember that the official recall of the Depuy ASR artificial hip was August 24, 2010. For the sake of simplicity, let’s presume that no Depuy ASR hips were implanted after the recall date (and this can’t be true, but go with it). In that case, the outermost limit for eligible claims under the settlement agreement would be August 23, 2019. Keep these timelines in mind.
Always Beware the Statute of Limitation
Even though you may still be able to schedule revision surgery less than nine years from implantation, the statute of limitation could still end your case. I wrote about statutes of limitation here. I will say to be very cautious about delaying legal action if you believe you have a claim. A case involving revision surgery more than eight years after implantation may well have a statute of limitation issue lurking. And if it does, it could stop an otherwise valid claim in its tracks.