A new lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary over their proprietary knee implants causing permanently debilitating injuries alleges that the Attune knee manufacturers actively conspired to conceal the device’s significant safety issues and defects.
David Love filed the complaint against the Attune knee manufacturers earlier this month in the Western District of Missouri.
According to Love’s allegations, J&J and DePuy “obviously” knew about the radically high number of Attune failures among recipients, necessitating additional and considerably risky surgical interventions. However, the Attune knee manufacturers deliberately failed to warn surgeons and patients, allowing unsuspecting surgeons to continue implanting the original, defective design. It wasn’t until December 2016 that DePuy began openly admitting to the high rates of Attune device failure in its MAUDE failure reports.
Unfortunately, these admissions came far too late for patients like Love. Furthermore, the companies never extended these admissions to surgeons and patients. Consequently, thousands of patients continued receiving the dangerous knee implant with its incumbent health risks, while J&J and DePuy reaped the rewards.
Love is presenting clams for strict liability, negligence, fraud, breach of warranty, and violations of consumer protection laws due to significant problems with the DePuy Attune Knee System.
Attune Knee Manufacturers Conspired to Hide Defects
Love received the DePuy knee in December 2015 during total right-side knee replacement surgery. Following implantation of the device, he began suffering severe and unceasing chronic pain, discomfort, instability, and reduced mobility, as well as popping and clicking of the implant. His physician determined that the blame for Love’s significant injuries fell squarely on “the loosening, the lack of long-term fixation, debonding, and migration of the defective tibial baseplate and ATTUNE device components.”
Consequently, Love underwent revision surgery in December 2017. His surgeon diagnosed him with a “failed tibial component” and went on the describe the tibial component as being “grossly loose” in a surgery operative note.
Love asserts that the Attune Knee manufacturers knew the “device could fail early in patients and could cause debonding, fractures, infection, soft tissue injury and permanent damage to bones and nerves surrounding the knee joint and, therefore, give rise to physical injury, pain and suffering, debilitation, and the need for revision surgery to replace the device with the attendant risks of complication and death from such further surgery.”
According to the complaint, the companies were “communicating, conspiring and concealing the safety issues and unacceptable safety defects with the original ATTUNE as early as 2013 or before.”
DePuy Knee Manufacturers Concealed High Failure Rates
The DePuy Synthes Attune Knee received FDA approval in 2010. Surgeons nationwide started widely adopting the device in early 2013. Due to the companies’ signature aggressive marketing strategies, about 400,000 patients worldwide have received the dangerously defective implant.
Despite the fact that most DePuy Attune knee replacements were only implanted in the past few years, high failure rates are already a hallmark of post-marketing adverse event reports.
By June 2017, the FDA had already been flooded with 1,400 reports of Attune knee failure. This includes at least 633 cases where individuals had already had to undergo revision surgery to address significant problems.
Love’s allegations are strikingly similar to those in other knee replacement lawsuits from individuals experiencing harrowing problems from DePuy Attune knees in recent years.
Surgeons often attribute mechanical loosening as the primary reason for failure in these cases. The failure of the tibial baseplate to correctly bond with the implant-cement surface causes this. These patients assert that when this loosening occurs, the knee device can detach from the existing bone and cause early failure.
When the knee implant loosens and fails, it can cause severe pain and even wear away the bone. Consequently, this can lead to restricted movement and even worse pain. These symptoms continue until the pain becomes unbearable, or the device ultimately fails, causing knee function loss.
Experts indicate that the DePuy Attune knee failure rate may very well increase dramatically as time goes on, as the devices are in place longer.