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Local woman’s suit chosen as national bellwether case

The lawsuit of Rochester resident suing a hip-implant manufacturer has been selected for trial as a national bellwether case.

Ann McCracken’s suit, first filed suit in U.S. District Court in 2011, is one of several filed by Faraci Lange LLP on behalf of victims injured by the same device.

In her suit, McCracken alleges injuries caused by the prosthetic hip manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 1998. McCracken has had follow-up surgeries to remove and replace the DePuy 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, alleging damages caused by the ASR Hip prosthesis.

In July, Judge Katz set forth a procedure for choosing two bellwether cases to proceed to trial in May and July of 2013. 

McCracken received her ASR metal-on-metal prosthesis in August 2009 which, according to a Faraci Lange release, was marketed as a solution likely to last longer than other traditional devices and ideally suited for younger and active patients like McCracken.

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 on data from the national joint registries in England and Australia, where it was marketed two years earlier than in the United States, the release says.

Just one year after McCracken received her ASR implant, DePuy issued a recall of the ASR Hip

The revision surgery 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. 

McCracken blamed tissue damage for subsequent painful hip dislocations. She had a third major hip surgery in October 2011 to insert a 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.

Hadley Matarazzo

“I look forward to explaining my ordeal to a jury and to holding these companies accountable for selling a defective product,” McCracken said. “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.”

Faraci Lange attorneys Hadley Matarazzo and Stephen Schwarz represent McCracken and more than 40 other plaintiffs with similar lawsuits.

Stephen G. Schwarz

“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.”