DePuy Wants to Slip Away From Metal Hip Jury Verdict

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has requested that an $8.3 million judgment against the company over its DePuy metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implant be put on hold.

The damaging jury award was rendered in March against J&J’s DePuy Orthopedics division for plaintiff, Loren Kransky. His metal hip shed cobalt and chromium debris into his implant site and blood stream requiring the ASR XL be removed and replaced, called revision surgery, less than five years after he received it.

Traditionally a hip prosthesis can remain in a patient for about 10 to 15 years.

The jury decided, as illustrated by its large award, that the DePuy ASR XL MoM hip was defectively designed and the company was negligent.

J&J wants the judge to put a hold on the jury decision so it can file an appeal with no bond. The company says the DePuy metal hip is not defectively designed; despite an internal company memo estimating 37 percent of DePuy’s ASR hip implants would need to be replaced in less than 4.6 years.

J&J in a statement said the jury should have heard evidence about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of the DePuy hip.

The hip is cleared under a 510(k) fast-track notification process so it is uncertain whether the jurors would have felt assured that the company and the FDA did its due diligence in approving the MoM hip.

This month an Illinois woman lost her case against Johnson & Johnson over the same DePuy metal hip prosthesis. An orthopedic surgeon testified Carol Strum may have been hypersensitive to the metal debris found in her system which, he testified, was not excessive and that may have led to her revision surgery three years after her implant in 2008.

Even though the DePuy ASR was recalled worldwide in 2010, the company is still facing over 10,000 lawsuits that claim a defective design. Also federal regulators are looking into whether J&J made false statements when marketing the ASR hip to consumers.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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