In what plaintiff attorneys say was the first of more than 10,000 lawsuits to go to trial, a Los Angeles County jury awarded $8.3 million to 65-year-old Montana man, Loren Kransky, who claimed he was injured by a recalled DePuy ASR artificial hip. Last month the judge denied DePuy’s motions including a motion for a new trial and the company has appealed. The next round of trials in the federal MDL are set for September, with trial in the California Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding set for October, according to Stephanie Poli of Gomez Iagmin Trial Attorneys, the firm that represents Kransky.
A doctor surgically implanted Kransky with the ASR in December 2007, but another surgeon removed the device four years later because, the plaintiff asserted, defects in the design of the ASR caused it to shed toxic metal debris that killed bone and tissue around his hip joint. “The design of the ASR was deeply flawed, unproven and unsafe. DePuy should have never sold a single one,” said John Gomez of Gomez Iagmin. According to Gomez, the suits are projected to cost DePuy Orthopaedics billions to resolve.
The New York Times reported that DePuy considers the verdict a “mixed” one. “We believe ASR XL was properly designed, and that DePuy’s actions concerning the product were appropriate and responsible,” Lorie Gawreluk, a spokeswoman for DePuy said in a statement posted by the Times. “We plan to appeal the jury’s decision on design defect pending the outcome of post-trial motions. We believe we have a number of valid grounds for appeal, notably that the court didn’t let the company tell the jury about the Food and Drug Administration’s review and clearance of the device.” DePuy is a division of Johnson & Johnson.
Judicial Forum on Pharma & Medical Device Litigation, Sept. 12 in San Diego co-chaired by John Gomez and Paul Sizemore.