A Los Angeles jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $8.3 million in damages to Loren Kransky, a man who alleged that the DePuy ASR hip replacement device, manufactured by a subsidiary of J & J, caused him to suffer serious health complications including metal poisoning.
According to a report in The New York Times, the 12-member panel, which deliberated for five days, declined to issue punitive damages saying that DePuy, which made and marketed the all-metal hip implants, did not act with fraud or malice. The defectively designed implants, known as the Articular Surface Replacement or ASR, were recalled in 2010.
Johnson & Johnson has said in a statement that it plans to appeal the damage award. A trial on a second lawsuit is scheduled to begin Monday in Chicago with at least 10,000 lawsuits pending against the medical device manufacturer. The jury in the Los Angeles case ordered the company to pay Kransky, the plaintiff, about $338,000 to cover medical expenses, $8 million for pain and emotional suffering. Thousands of individual cases that have to do with these metal-on-metal implants have been consolidated into a large proceeding in a Federal District Court in Ohio.
More Than 10,000 DePuy Lawsuits Filed
Thousands of lawsuits filed in the nation’s courts allege that DePuy’s ASR hip replacements caused serious and debilitating injuries. The design of the ASR caused the cup and ball of the device to move resulting in shedding of metallic debris. This led to inflamed and damaged tissue and bone, causing patients severe pain and in some cases, permanent injuries.
Many other brands of all-metal hip replacements also had similar issues, but data from orthopedic registries in the United Kingdom and Australia suggests that the ASR was far worse than any other product. An internal study done by J & J also revealed that close to 40 percent of patients who received these implants will need to undergo a revision surgery within five years. Traditional artificial hips that are made of metal and plastic are expected to last 15 years or more before needing to be replaced.
Justice for the Victim
This jury verdict is no doubt a victory for the plaintiff in this case. However, it also offers hope to thousands of others in line who are waiting for their day in court. These are individuals who have undergone severe pain, endured other health complications and illnesses and even struggled to get up and move because of these defectively designed metal-on-metal hips.
A number of important facts came out during this trial. It showed that J & J considered redesigning the product, but abandoned the effort because the product’s sales did not justify the cost of redesign.
Despite the jury verdict, J & J is refusing to take responsibility for making what is clearly a defective product. Company officials tried to pin the blame during this trial on the surgeon who implanted the device. They still maintain that there is nothing wrong with the product.
Anyone who is suffering complications as the result of a defective metal hip implant would be well advised to contact an experienced product liability lawyer who will fight for their rights and ensure that the negligent manufacturers are held accountable.