A WOMAN plans to bring what is expected to be the first of many cases over allegedly defective hip implants, the High Court heard yesterday.
The case has been brought by Irene Pierson, who is one of thousands of people who had DePuy Orthopaedics hip joints fitted in Irish hospitals before DePuy ordered a worldwide recall of the product in 2010.
The action, where she intends to seek damages, is believed to be one of a number of similar cases pending against the defendants.
Today the court heard Ms Pierson's intends to bring an action against both DePuy Inc. and related companies, which alleged supplied and manufactured the hip replacement product, and against Johnson & Johnson Inc, which owns DePuy Inc. and the Health Service Executive.
In her claim, Ms Pierson alleges that she entered into a contract with the HSE in March 2007 to have a right hip implant fitted and in September 2008 to have a left hip implant fitted.
It is alleged that the products were not of merchantable quality, and have both started to malfunction. She claims that the defendants have acted in breach of contract and she is seeking to recover damages.
It is claimed that she has a good cause of action because in October 2010 Ms Pierson was informed by letter that she had been fitted with a recalled DePuy hip in Navan General Hospital, in Co Meath.
When the case was mentioned before the court, her solicitor Edward McGarr secured an order allowing him to serve the proceedings on a number of defendants who are outside the jurisdiction.
Mr McGarr said that he wished to serve notice of the proceedings against DePuy International Ltd, which has a registered address in Leeds in England, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. and DePuy Inc, which have registered addresses in Indiana in the US, and Johnson & Johnson Inc which has a registered address in New Jersey in the US.
Mr McGarr said that as those entities are not incorporated in Ireland, and that the intended action is to be brought here, it was appropriate to serve notice of the case, rather than the proceedings themselves, on these defendants. The other two defendants in the intended action, Johnson & Johnson (Ireland) Ltd, and the HSE are both Irish based.
Permission to serve the intended defendants was granted by Mr Justice Michael Peart.