The first few settlement payments were made over the last two weeks from the DePuy ASR Settlement Trust. It had been hoped that more payments would have been made by this point. Brown Greer which is the law firm that is administering the settlement listed June on its website as the anticipated starting month for payments. Apparently, reviewing the claims and documents submitted turned out to be more time consuming than they had anticipated.
As of the second week of July, Brown Greer has doubled its team members on this project so that they now have 85 attorneys, project managers, analysis, and claim reviewers. Brown Greer has a good track record, in my experience, in administering large complex settlements such as this one and I am confident that they will be able to speed up the processing and payment of these claims.
Brown Greer reviews the claims submitted and then issues either a Notice of Eligibility or a Deficiency Notice if documents submitted are not complete. If an Eligibility Notice is issued, it provides a detailed breakdown of how much is proposed to be paid on the claim and why. The attorney receiving the Notice of Eligibility can either accept the claim or contest the claim. If the attorney receiving the Notice of Eligibility does not agree that the payment amount is correct he or she can submit a written description of why the claim is not correct and can upload documents to support the contest of the claim.
The first Eligibility Notice that I received was incorrect and I contested it and Brown Greer agreed with me and made the payment amount change within two days. So this process does work.
It appears that the payments made in the last two weeks were on Eligibility Notices that were issued over a month ago. I know that the settlement committee attorneys and Brown Greer are working to speed up this time period between Eligibility Notice and Payment Notice.
When Brown Greer receives and acceptance of an Eligibility Notice from an attorney for a hip implant claimant it applies for funds from DePuy and when it receive the funds it issues the Payment Notice at the same time it arranges the wire transfer or sends the check for the settlement amount to the plaintiff’s attorney.
It is frustrating to all of us that Brown Greer cannot give us a time frame for payment or payment date for any specific claim. However, I know they are working hard to expedite these claims.
The frustration that many of us feel about this settlement I think is based partly upon the fact that this civil settlement does not and cannot hold DePuy fully accountable for their greedy and reckless conduct in marketing the ASR Hip. I think some company officers or employees should be criminally prosecuted and go to jail. And I think the company charter should be revoked or suspended.
As a result of politics in the U.S., commercial corporations here enjoy increasing protections from liability for negligent, reckless, or criminal conduct. For profit corporations have also recently been given first amendment rights to spend unlimited amounts of money to further their political goals.
In the last term of the U.S. Supreme Court, closely held corporations were given first amendment rights to have corporate religious beliefs and to restrict female employee contraceptive health care choices.
This political protection of corporations by the U.S. Supreme Court falls along party lines. The 5 Republican appointees versus the 4 Democrat appointees. The 5-4 Republican majority generally votes to restrict the rights of injured consumers and employees and to expand the immunities and rights of for profit corporations.
It has now been 4 years since the recall of the DePuy and most of these cases had to be settled at some point. No amount is fair for what people have suffered but it appears that the settlement compensation that was possible is in process and should be paid in the reasonably near future.