Judge urges haste as hip op cases ‘could take years’

A High Court judge yesterday urged all those involved in legal actions over alleged defective DePuy hip implants to find innovative ways to resolve the cases rather than clog up High Court lists.

A judge may have to be specially assigned to oversee these cases in the High Court system, as there are 73 cases pending for hearing and 1,000 cases in the pipeline.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross asked all sides involved in the DePuy litigation to seek means of resolution after he heard that DePuy International will bring a motion before the court in two weeks offering alterative dispute resolution.

The judge said that if the cases pending before the courts and those in the wings go ahead individually, it will take years for them all to clear the court system.

“Because of resources it will take a long time,” he said. “I urge the parties to be as innovative as possible or we will be drawing our pensions or worse before they are all resolved.”

Mr Justice Cross said if the cases go ahead, a judge could be assigned to hear them or if there is alternative resolution decided upon, the court will consider if a judge should oversee that. If court litigation is going to be the only vehicle, Mr Justice Cross said it will also have a knock-on effect on other litigants.

In August 2010, DePuy issued an international recall for all ASRXL and ASR-type hip implant products, of which 95,000 had been sold worldwide, the court previously heard. Around 3,500 DePuy products had been used in Ireland.

Counsel for DePuy International Michael Howard told the High Court yesterday DePuy would propose an alternative dispute resolution process instead of court action. He said it would be a voluntary process and if an award was made it would have to be accepted. He said he will bring a motion before the High Court in two weeks.


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