Johnson & Johnson Loses First DePuy Hip Lawsuit In CA Court

In the first of more than 10,000 DePuy hip lawsuits pending in court rooms across the nation, a Los Angeles jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a Montana man $8.3 million in damages for his medical expenses, chronic pain and emotional suffering. Recalls on defective medical devices, such as the DePuy A.S.R. hip implant that the plaintiff received, harm thousands of people each year. Some legal analysts speculate that the recalled A.S.R. device could cost Johnson & Johnson billions of dollars in future litigation. The case is a victory for the injured claimant, but the defendant plans to appeal the verdict, and continues to dispute the jurors’ decision that the A.S.R. is defectively designed.

Defective medical devices subject to product recalls

A subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, DePuy Orthopaedics has cleared many of its medical devices through the 510(k) program – a fast-track process that doesn’t entail the rigorous pre-market testing typical for FDA approval, as long as a manufacturer can prove its new product is substantially similar to one already in use. In 2010, concerns over debilitating complications and early failure rates prompted DePuy to recall its Articular Surface Replacement (A.S.R.) Acetubular System. It is estimated that 93,000 patients worldwide received the A.S.R. implants and some 30,000 in the United States. By the time the DePuy A.S.R. hip recall was issued, thousands of patients had already received the medical devices and would later experience severe problems from the metal-on-metal design.

While the average hip prosthesis is designed to last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, patients who received the DePuy A.S.R. device were reporting total hip failure – and the need for revision surgery – within five years of receiving the implants. The A.S.R.’s metal cup and ball components were the underlying issue, as the two parts would grind together, shedding metallic debris into the surrounding tissue – causing inflammation and damage to bone. Individuals who received the defective implants experienced a host of complications including serious pain, limited mobility, bone fractures and metallosis – a type of heavy metal blood poisoning caused by the metal debris.

Evidence was presented during the California DePuy trial that showed Johnson & Johnson considered redesigning the A.S.R. to correct its flaws, but gave up these plans as device sales were lacking and didn’t support the cost of such a project.  The 12-member jury deliberated for more than five days before rendering their verdict. Loren Kransky – the Montana plaintiff – suffers from terminal cancer and had his case expedited in the California state court owing to his poor health. Kransky’s lawyers commented on the verdict, “This is a victory for Mr. Kransky and thousands of other badly damaged A.S.R. patients who have yet to get their day in court…Jurors across the country will return similar verdicts until Johnson & Johnson takes full responsibility.”

Contact a New York product liability lawyer

Medical device failures can result in life-altering complications and permanent injuries, and the legal team at The Sanders Firm believes that manufacturers should be held responsible for production of defective medical devices. If you or someone you care about has suffered harm from a faulty hip implant or other type of medical device, you may be entitled to compensation for your hospital expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. Contact our law offices to schedule your free and confidential evaluation with a New York product liability lawyer. Call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY.