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Rochester Resident's Hip-Replacement Lawsuit Chosen as a National Bellwether Case

Ann McCracken's lawsuit against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson to serve as a bellwether case for more than 7,000 lawsuits nationally.

The lawsuit of Rochester resident Ann McCracken, who sued a hip-implant manufacturer asserting she was injured by the defective device and forced to have additional surgeries, has been selected for trial as a national bellwether case. Filed in U.S. District Court in 2011, McCracken's lawsuit is one of several filed by Faraci Lange LLP on behalf of victims injured by this defective device. In her suit, Ann McCracken alleges injuries caused by DePuy's ASRTM XL Acetabular System (ASR Hip), which she had implanted during hip replacement surgery. McCracken has had follow-up surgeries to remove and replace the ASR Hip, enduring additional post-surgery pain and rehabilitation. Judge David A. Katz of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio selected the case as one of the first two trials against DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson for their allegedly defective ASR Hip implant. The other case involves a plaintiff in Ohio. While McCracken's case was filed in Rochester, it was transferred to Ohio pursuant to an order from the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, together with more than 7,000 other filed claims nationwide against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson alleging damages caused by the ASR Hip prosthesis. In July 2012, Judge Katz issued a Case Management Order that, among other things, set forth a procedure for choosing two bellwether cases to proceed to trial in May and July of 2013.

Ann McCracken's Case

In August 2009, Ann McCracken's surgeon implanted the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal prosthesis, which DePuy marketed as a solution likely to last longer than other traditional devices and ideally suited for younger and active patients like McCracken. The ASR Hip is a metal-on-metal implant -- a metal ball attaches to a metal stem inserted into the thigh bone and a metal cup attaches to the hip bone. In her lawsuit, McCracken, a 57-year-old single mother and owner of A Good Sign Company, alleges that by the time her surgeon chose the ASR Hip for her, the company knew of the device's unprecedented failure rate based in part based on data from the national joint registries in England and Australia, where the device was marketed two years earlier than in the United States. In August 2010, just one year after McCracken received her ASR implant, DePuy issued a recall of the ASR Hip. DePuy advised surgeons who implanted these devices to contact their patients and to evaluate them for possible complications associated with excessive wear and creation of metal debris that could result in pain and permanent tissue damage. Following surgery, McCracken developed severe pain in her right hip that was ultimately associated with her complications arising from her ASR Hip device. As a result of these complications, her surgeon, Dr. Stephen Kates, advised revision of the hip and replacement of the device with a more traditional implant.
  • The revision surgery, her second major surgery is less than two years, occurred in January 2011. When removing the ASR prosthesis, her surgeon saw evidence of metallosis, an inflammatory condition in the soft tissues around the prosthetic hip joint caused by reaction to excessive metal particles released from the implant that results in tissue death.
  • In July 2011, McCracken's right hip spontaneously dislocated while at work, causing excruciating pain and requiring her to be rushed to the hospital.
  • Her hip dislocated a second time in September 2011, again requiring emergency hospitalization. After the second dislocation, Dr. Kates determined that the metallosis from her ASR Hip had caused soft tissue damage to her right hip area such that the hip would no longer stay in place and could easily dislocate again.
  • In October 2011, McCracken had a third major hip surgery and second revision surgery to insert an additional device to restrict the movement of her hip and prevent future dislocations. Unfortunately, this device also reduces McCracken's normal range of motion and causes implants to wear out more quickly necessitating another future surgery.
Ann McCracken said, "I look forward to explaining my ordeal to a jury and to holding these companies accountable for selling a defective product. My implant's failure has negatively affected my life, and I have to live daily with the fear of another dislocation and the certainty of more surgery. I am upset that DePuy knew about these problems long before I had my implant because my subsequent hip dislocations and multiple surgeries should never have happened." Faraci Lange LLP attorneys Hadley Matarazzo and Stephen Schwarz represent Ann McCracken and more than forty other plaintiffs with failed DePuy ASR Hip implant lawsuits. "The court could not have selected a more deserving or severely impacted plaintiff than Ann McCracken as one of two lead trial cases in this national litigation," Matarazzo said. "We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate in court DePuy's fault in designing, marketing and selling this defective product, which the company ultimately recalled."
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