If you believe you have a case against DePuy Orthopaedics, you need to file a complaint before August 23rd. Otherwise, you may be out of luck to file your DePuy lawsuit.
I've discussed this before, but it bears reviewing. Under the tolling statute of limitations law, an injured party has a limited amount of time in which to file a lawsuit (in this case a DePuy lawsuit) against the party he/she believes to be responsible for their injury. In most states, this period is measured starting two years from the time an injury was either incurred or discovered (some symptoms suffered as the result of an injury are not apparent until weeks or even months later).
Naturally, there are dozens of variables that come into play, and the tolling statute of limitations law does vary from state to state. Many states allow only one year, while others – such as Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota – have a statute of limitations of six years. In Oregon, an injured party has up to ten years to file suit against a liable party. (Here in Florida, the statute of limitations on injury cases is four years.)
Even if your state allows more time, you should not wait before contacting a lawyer – because the more time that passes, the more difficult and complicated the case may become.
This brings us to the reason for a statute of limitations in the first place. It boils down to fairness; those who wrote the laws determined that it is neither fair nor reasonable for anyone to have a legal matter hanging over his or her (or in the case of a business entity, its) head indefinitely. This applies to civil matters; although there are statutes of limitations in certain minor criminal offenses. When it comes to felonies – such as murder – most states have no statute of limitations. Additionally, over time, records may be lost and witnesses' memories can fade.
So...why August 23rd?
On August 24, 2010, DePuy's recall notice was first brought to public attention. According to what is largely due to what is known as a “discovery rule,” the statute of limitations starts from the time a plaintiff should “reasonably have known” that they had been injured. In the cases that actually go to trial (most injury cases are settled out of court), it is likely that the judge would base his/her decision on the date DePuy's recall notice became widely publicized.
However, there are always exceptions. For example, earlier I said that the statute of limitations starts running from the time an injury is discovered. Many patients with DePuy ASR hip plants began experiencing health problems long before the recall was issued; therefore, if they are residents of certain states – Virginia being one of them – the statute of limitations may already have run out.
A situation that may extend a statute of limitations would be a case in which the patient receiving the implant was mentally incapacitated. A good example would be brain damage due to a stroke or someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Again, this varies from state to state.
There are other exceptions and variations in tort law that can affect an injury case but would likely not be applicable to lawsuits involving DePuy's ASR hip implants. Your best course of action is to retain legal counsel as soon as possible if you have not already done so.
Based on information at FindLaw and Nolo.com