Johnson & Johnson Lawsuit May Top $3 Billion

Sources close to the case say Johnson & Johnson wants to settle all United States claims by early next year

According to sources familiar with the case, Johnson & Johnson is discussing settling lawsuits over its recalled hip implants for more than $3 billion. With as many as 11,500 lawsuits in the United States alone, that figure would average more than $300,000 per case. If the plaintiffs accept the terms, the amount would be 50 percent larger than discussed in previous negotiations, according to the sources that are not approved to make the negotiations public. Any agreement would affect the conclusion of seven trials scheduled September to January.

The sources said Johnson & Johnson is attempting to settle all United States cases by early next year. A defense lawyer not involved in the case, Bruce Cranner said, “It’s going to be a fascinating case to watch settle because of the level of complexity of the injuries and the amount of money that will be involved. You don’t see a lot of mass-tort implant cases settle for a substantial amount of money.”

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are still conducting pre-trial interviews of company officials and experts in preparation for the trials, as well as going over 50 million pages of Johnson & Johnson documents. Both sides have agreed on a broad outline of a “global settlement” to cover all hip claimants in the United States, the sources said. Johnson & Johnson officials were willing to settle the claims for about $2 billion in January but the plaintiffs’ lawyers rejected that amount as too small.

Any agreement would pay damages to patients based on several factors including the extent of the injuries, age and the number of surgeries required to replace the defective implants. These factors as well as others would most likely be ranked on a matrix or grid by negotiators for payment dispersal, say the sources.

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