Cobalt Chromium Toxicity

Are Women More Sensitive to Negative Side Effects of Hip Replacements?

Research from 2017 indicates that a person’s sex may have some effect on the likelihood of that person suffering complications from total hip or knee replacement surgery. It is thought that an increased rate of hypersensitivity to the metals in joint implants could be to blame.

The study was published in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. It states that among patients with unexplained pain following total joint replacement using metal-containing components, women are more likely than men to experience metal sensitization.

The study involved 2,613 patients from a variety of demographics. On average, test subjects were 62 years of age. A majority of them were women. Average time since total joint replacement clocked in at three years, with the majority under two years. On a scale of 1 to 10, women reported higher average pain at 6.8, compared to men’s 6.1.

Testing for Metal Sensitization

All patients involved in the study submitted to blood tests to examine immune cell sensitization to metals. The test involved, the lymphocyte transformation test, is used to determine whether a patient is experiencing hypersensitivity to a variety of metals, which can include cobalt, chromium or nickel – all common in the construction of total hip and knee replacement components.

The results of the blood tests showed that women experienced immune sensitization to metals at a rate of 49 percent, compared to 38 percent for men. In patients experiencing immune sensitization, the severity was found to be much higher in women.

If you are experiencing negative health effects that you believe may be the result of your metal hip or knee replacement, call Kershaw, Cook & Talley at 888-817-2527 or fill out our online contact form.


Can Defective Hip Implants Cause Brain Toxicity?

hipCan the use of artificial hip replacements lead to brain damage? According to new findings presented at the 2017 Health Watch USA Patient Safety Conference, the answer is yes.

Alaskan physicians Stephen Tower and Robert Bridges have been studying patients with artificial hip replacements that present signs of cognitive decline. Through the use of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, the doctors were able to identify a type of chronic toxic encephalopathy, called Arthroplasty Cobalt Encephalopathy (ACE), in many of their patients. Symptoms of ACE can include:

  • new onset memory loss
  • vision and hearing problems
  • Parkinsonism
  • nerve damage
  • diminished mentation
  • fatigue
  • weakness or imbalance
  • mood swings
  • pan
  • weight loss
  • blindness
  • other symptoms

It is thought that this condition is caused when mechanical failure or corrosion of metal hip replacement causes chromium-cobalt alloy to leak out of the joint. From there, it travels throughout the body.

The doctors expressed concerns that the symptoms of ACE may be misdiagnosed as age related or permanent progressive dementia, which could delay or prevent treatment. Among patients who were diagnosed with ACE, the median length of time for the onset of neurological symptoms was around seven years. Most ACE symptoms begin to manifest one year prior to hip symptoms (pain, weakness, loosening) occur.

If you or a loved one have suffered the above symptoms and have been outfitted with a metal-on-metal hip implant, it is important to discuss your symptoms with a medical professional. You may also be eligible for damages caused by a defective implant. Call Kershaw, Cook & Talley at 888-817-2527 to schedule a free consultation, or fill out our online contact form.


Defective Hip Settlements: Do I Have To Take What The Defendants Are Offering?

In the past few months, several large hip manufacturers have announced global settlements programs in an effort to resolve thousands of lawsuits alleging that their hips were defective.  In almost all of these cases, the amounts being offered by the defendants do not reflect the true settlement value of the cases.  However, despite the small amounts being paid, most plaintiffs are settling their cases as part of these settlement program.  In considering a settlement, here are important things to consider.

  • The decision to settle your case is yours and yours alone.  If you have an attorney that is telling you that “you have to settle your case” for an amount that you believe is less than what you deserve, get a second opinion.  When getting a second opinion, try to find an attorney who is active in the litigation and has a large number of cases.  Most plaintiffs’ attorneys would be happy to speak with you free of charge.
  • Understand that in settling large mass hip cases, the defendants really have two points of leverage.  First, because there are thousands of similar cases clogging the courthouse, they can make you wait.  If you decide not to participate in a global settlement program, the only way to get the defendant to pay what your case is worth is to get a trial date.  In most cases, judges are not interested in setting cases for trial until all the other cases have been settled.  This can often take years.  Second, the defendants in these hip cases rely heavily on the fact that many plaintiff’s lawyers who file them do not have the financial resources to try one to a jury.  The defendants know that these attorneys will often pressure their clients to accept settlement that are less than they deserve.
  • Know that you if you do not settle your case, you may have to wait years for a better settlement is offered.  Many plaintiffs, especially those who are older, are not willing to wait.
  • Understand that when a settlement is offered you have to take into account the “deductions.”  In almost all cases, there are three items that will come out of your settlement; attorney’s fees, expenses, and insurance liens.  Make sure your attorney lists all of these deductions out and tells you what your “net settlement” will be before you sign any settlement documents.  The only exception to this advice has to do with “insurance liens.”  Insurance liens constitute the amount that you have to pay to your health insurance company from your settlement for any treatment it paid for that is associated with your defective hip.  Determining the amount of an “insurance lien” requires negotiations with your health insurance company and these negotiations can often take several weeks or months.  You may not know the amount of the lien by the deadline for accepting a settlement.  However, your attorney should be able to determine the maximum amount of the lien be examining your medical bills.
  • Feel free to ask your lawyer questions.  In most hip cases, the injuries suffered by plaintiffs are substantial and once your case is settled, its settled forever.  Make sure your attorney answers every question you have and that you are satisfied with his answers.  If you are not receiving acceptable answers or you lose faith in your lawyer, get a new lawyer.  In most states, the law permits plaintiffs to switch lawyers without paying any additional fees.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your recalled or defective hip, call Kershaw, Cook & Talley at 888-817-2527 for a free case consultation.

DePuy ASR Settlement – Round 2 Extension

DePuy Pinnacle 2016 Trial Update 39

DePuy Pinnacle 2016 Trial Update: Your Attorney

Hi, this is Stuart Talley. I am the partner here responsible for the DePuy Pinnacle litigation at our firm. The reason I am doing this video is to answer a question many people have asked us over the years.

We get calls many times from people who have cases on file with other lawyers who are seeking information about the litigation, and about what is going on with their case.  It seems that a common problem is people are not getting information about the case, or about the litigation, from their lawyers. We hear people voicing their concern that they’re not able to contact their lawyer. So, I wanted to give some advice on how to deal with that kind of situation.

The first option you should consider is when you call your attorney’s office it’s important that you ask to speak with the attorney directly. Many times paralegals, assistants, or secretaries may not have the kind of in-depth knowledge that you need about your case or about the litigation; ask to speak directly to your attorney. If he or she is not available, ask for their email address. Send them an email. That’s often a very good way to get in touch with your attorney especially on that’s very busy and is often out of the office.

The other option is asking for your attorney’s cell phone number. At my firm, we give all our clients my personal cell phone number and they can reach me when I am traveling or anytime. If you ask for your attorney’s cell phone number at the beginning of the case, they should give it to you. They should be accessible.

If phone calls and emails don’t work, you should send a letter to your attorney explaining that you are not happy with the communication, with the information that’s provided, and you would like more regular updates. Letters almost always get responded to.

Now, if you’ve tried the former suggestions and you’re still not getting a response or getting adequate information, the last resort is that you are always free to fire your attorney. The law in almost every state gives clients the absolute right to change attorneys at any time. If you are not getting information from your attorney and they’re not responding to your inquiries adequately, you can send them a letter indicating you are going to retain a new attorney. Now, almost all states have laws that give clients the absolute right to change attorneys.

Typically, the way it works with fees is that, if you’re on a contingency fee agreement, the new attorney will almost always match the fee agreement of your previous attorney. So, if your previous attorney was charging 40%, the new attorney will charge 40%. This does not mean you have to pay 80%. The laws in almost every state are that if someone changes attorneys the client will not have to pay more in fees. So, the fee will remain the same. The fee will then be divided among your old attorney and new attorney. It will be divided based on the amount of work that each attorney contributed to your case.

If you change attorneys early on in the litigation, and the new attorney takes your case, and works it up and gets it ready for trial (or settlement), that attorney will usually get most of the 40% fee. Conversely, if you change attorneys at the last minute, right before you go to trial, your previous attorney will get most of the fee. It is important to know it will not cost you anything extra. As the client, you have a right to change attorneys. Even if the attorney puts something in their contract that says,  “you’re going to have to pay me a fee even if you fire me”, this is not valid to make you pay more than the agreed-upon percentage.

This is my advice to people who call me and are concerned about their attorneys not responding to them. If you have any other questions or concerns, or you want some more advice on what you can do, feel free to give us a call.

Stay tuned. Opening statements started this morning. We will have more updates  soon.

DePuy Pinnacle 2016 Trial Update 22

Hi, Stuart Talley here to do a quick update on the DePuy Pinnacle trial.  We received word from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (COA)  on various petitions that  DePuy had filed  in an effort to up-end  the current trial that is set  to start opening statements on Monday, October  3rd.

The COA rejected all of DePuy’s arguments and efforts to basically  stay the litigation  pending their appeals.  DePuy made arguments that there was no jurisdiction in the Texas court for people that resided in California. They also made some arguments that consolidating the case  was unfair and the speed at which  the trial was going to commence  was  unfair; that they didn’t have enough time to  get ready. All these  arguments  were denied by the COA and opening statements will begin  as scheduled.

This is  good news for the plaintiffs.  Stay tuned. We will provide regular updates  on how the trial progresses .

DePuy Pinnacle 2016 Trial Update 21

Hi, this is Stuart Talley here to provide another update on the ongoing DePuy Pinnacle hip trial occurring in Dallas, Texas. Yesterday, a prospective jury was brought in. Today, there is jury selection.

Yesterday, we were also met with complaints and filings that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) made with the Court of Appeals (COA) to try and get the trial derailed. The first motion they filed with the appellate court was one again objecting to the consolidation of six cases for trial. If you have been watching my videos, you will know that this trial is for six individual plaintiffs all of whom live in California. It will be tried in front of one jury. The defendants are complaining and asserting that this is not fair.

The second motion they filed with the appellate court was a last second motion to contest personal jurisdiction. They are arguing that the court in Texas does not have jurisdiction to even hear the trial. This is a new argument that has not been made previously. I think it is a long shot of having any chance with the appellate court.

So, those were the motions that J&J filed with the appellate court. I do not expect those to go anywhere. The judge is moving forward with the trial. He entered an order yesterday indicating that each side in this trial will only have 70 hours to put on their case. This is an effort to streamline the process to get both the plaintiffs and defendants to determine exactly what types of evidence they want to get into the case, in front of the jury, and to streamline the process so future trials go quicker.

70 hours is still a significant period of time. With 70 hours of testimony and cross examination, you are looking at about 3 weeks of trial. 3 weeks on each side is a 6 week trial. It is substantially shorter than the previous trials which lasted months. But it is still a substantial effort to put on these cases.
The judge allowed live testimony by satellite broadcast which is helpful to the plaintiffs. So, there are some witnesses who live in other states; a lot of them live in California. Their testimony will be presented by Skype, or whichever software. But there will be live video testimony in the court with direct and cross examination of the witness in some other location. This is helpful for the plaintiffs because many witnesses are out of state.

The trial is moving forward. Jury selection is today. Today, they will actually pick the jury. Stay tuned, we will keep you updated. Hopefully, we will have opening arguments tomorrow. I will provide an update on what occurs.

If you have a Pinnacle hip, and have any questions, you can always call us or fill out our online form.

DePuy Pinnacle 2016 Trial Update 20

Hi, this is Stuart Talley here to provide another update on the ongoing DePuy Pinnacle hip trial. If you have been following our videos, you know that there is an upcoming trial starting on September 26 for a group of six California plaintiffs.

Ever since the trial date was set by the trial court, the defendants have gone to extraordinary lengths to try and get the trial date pushed off. They have made arguments before the trial court that it is impossible for them to conduct the amount of discovery necessary for them to get the cases ready for trial between now and the end of September. The trial court denied those requests to get the trial date moved.

We had an order that came out on September 1 where the trial court indicated the trial date would not be moved. It was indicated that the defendants had waited too long to begin seeking medical records and discovery from the six plaintiffs selected for that trial. As a result, if there was any prejudice to them it was caused by their own delay in action.

The defendants have now gone to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to request that they move the trial date. We do not yet have a decision from the Fifth Circuit. But what’s important to know regarding the scheduling of trials, coordinating discovery, the trial court has a huge amount of discretion. It would be highly unusual for an appellate court to overturn the decision of a trial court with respect to scheduling of trials, discovery and depositions.

I do not expect that this trial is going to be moved. The fact that the defendant keeps filing motion after motion to get it delay, stayed or moved, is a good sign for the plaintiffs. It shows the defendants are very concerned with the next group of plaintiffs.

If you have a DePuy Pinnacle or questions about the litigation, please feel free to give us a call.

DePuy Pinnacle 2016 Trial Update 19: July 29

The Fifth Circuit  denied the motion for an expedited appeal lodged by co-defendants Johnson & Johnson and  DePuy.   

Hi,  Stuart Talley  here and I have another update on the ongoing DePuy Pinnacle hip trial. Today, we received word  from the  Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding  DePuy’s request  that the court of appeal expedite  the appellate process with  respect to their appeal of the last  verdict.  The  Fifth Circuit denied the request.  

This means  that  the appeal will most likely take several years  to resolve.  In the meantime,  trials will continue to occur  in the trial court.  We have a trial date set  in September  for the  next round  which is now  six  plaintiffs who all reside in California.   This trial will move  forward  as scheduled.  

This is good news for the plaintiffs.  We did not want an expedited appeal.  There  are an  enormous  number  of legal issues  and those issues need to be fully briefed  before the appellate court  can  decide.  An expedited  procedure would put us at a  disadvantage in that process especially  considering  we are having a  trial  coming up  in just a few months.

As we get more orders from the Fifth Circuit,   we will provide updates as well as updates on the upcoming  trial.

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