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Jury Verdict in First of the 11,000 Metal Hip Trials Asks DePuy to Pay up $8.3 Million
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On Friday, in the first lawsuit (out of close to 11,000) to complete jury trial over defective metal hips sold by Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit, the jury ordered DePuy pay close to $8.38 million to the plaintiff Loren Kransky. Even though punitive damages were not awarded, the jury ordered DePuy to pay to the plaintiff $338,000 over medical costs and $8 million for the pain and suffering caused to the plaintiff.

However, the Los Angeles Superior Court jury did not find that DePuy acted with fraud or malice, but it did market and sell defective metal hips causing pain and suffering to the users.

  
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Before it started recalling the defective hips, DePuy had already sold more than 93,000. The recall of the ASR hips happened in 2010.

Even though DePuy decided to recall the hips following findings that the ASR hips were failing at much higher rates than expected, DePuy spokeswoman Loire Gawreluk said in a statement, “We believe ASR XL was properly designed, and that DePuy’s actions concerning the product were appropriate and responsible.”

DePuy has said it would appeal.

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While the DePuy spokeswoman holds the court denied DePuy the opportunity to convince the jury that the FDA had reviewed and cleared the device (so they knew who to blame), the attorney for the plaintiff said it “is the first day of reckoning for DePuy and Johnson & Johnson … We expect to get punitive damages in the next trial.”

While lawyers for the plaintiff argued that DePuy supplied ASR hips caused the rise of levels of cobalt and chromium in the plaintiff’s body, causing pain and requiring the hip to be replaced, lawyers for J&J hold the arguments are not tenable.



J&J lawyers said the reasons for the pain and sufferings of the plaintiff were attributable to his other medical conditions including kidney cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. They also said that there was no medical consensus as to specific levels of the metals that could cause harm to a person.

Until now, close to 500,000 Americans may have received these new kind of metal-on-metal hip replacements. Traditionally, a ceramic bal with a plastic socket was used, but regular failures made companies seek a longer-lasting solution.

Last month, amidst growing concerns about metal-on-metal hips, the FDA issued a proposal and asked all companies making all-metal hip replacements to provide further information guaranteeing their safety , in order to continue selling the products.



 

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