Jury Awards Damages in First DePuy Hip Implant Case

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A California jury dealt a stunning blow to DePuy Orthopaedics today by ordering the Johnson & Johnson company to pay $8.3 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiff in the first of more than 10,000 lawsuits to go to trial over its recalled metal-on-metal hip implant.

Bloomberg News reports the jury found that plaintiff Loren Kransky’s injuries resulted from the defective design of his DePuy ASR XL all-metal hip implant. However, they declined to award punitive damages in the case.

DePuy said in a statement that it planned to appeal the damage award and stood by its claim that the ASR was properly designed.

More than 90,000 ASR metal hips were voluntarily recalled in 2010 by DePuy after studies showed that the devices had a higher-than-expected failure rate of 12 percent after five years. Internal company documents presented at the trial indicated that 40 percent of patients will require a revision surgery within five years to replace a failing device.

Kransky’s lawsuit claimed he suffered severe pain, metal poisoning, and other health problems due to the defective ASR hip implant he got in 2007. Ultimately, he underwent revision surgery to remove the device. DePuy claimed Kransky’s pre-existing medical conditions — diabetes and kidney cancer — caused his health problems and not his ASR hip.

Legal experts and plaintiffs’ attorneys said today’s verdict sends a positive signal for plaintiffs in other DePuy ASR cases. Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan, told Bloomberg that that verdict sets “starting price” for settlement negotiations for plaintiffs.

DePuy will be back in court on March 11 in its second trial over the ASR in state court in Chicago, according to Bloomberg.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a metal on metal hip replacement or an unsafe medical device, contact Sokolove Law for a free legal consultation to find out if a product liability lawyer may be able to help you.