After Initial Loss, DePuy Faces Second Personal Injury Lawsuit, Admits Recall for Defects
On March 8th, a Los Angeles jury awarded Loren Kransky $8.3 million for medical bills and emotional pain and suffering in his personal injury case against DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of the much-maligned Johnson & Johnson. Kransky’s personal injury case was the first of 10,750 lawsuits against DePuy orthopedics for their faulty all-metal hip replacement devices, which can fail within 5 years, causing pain, disability, and metallosis.
Just two days after the verdict, a second personal injury case against DePuy went to court – this time, the plaintiff is a woman named Carol Strum, a 54-year-old Illinois nurse whose all-metal hip replacement device failed after three years, requiring revision surgery.
Strum’s lawyer, Denman Heard, told the jury, “Before Carol Strum ever had the ASR put into her body, DePuy knew that the design flaws in this defective device could cause it to shed those particles into patients, causing tissue death, causing high blood metal ion levels and the need for the serious and unnecessary second surgery.”
He said that evidence suggests that DePuy knew about the design flaws in its ASR model all-metal hip since 2008, before scrapping the project in a recall in 2010. DePuy failed to inform Strum’s surgeons of the risk.
Strum, like Kransky, is seeking punitive damages against DePuy. Although Kransky was awarded $8.3 million for his pain and suffering, the Los Angeles jury did not award punitive damages, which are specifically designed to punish the company for intentional misconduct, fraud, malice, or neglect.
DePuy Admits to High Revision Rate, But Not Defects
Richard Sarver, who represents DePuy in Strum’s case, said in his opening remarks, “Many factors contribute to the overall revision rate so a single root cause cannot be defined at this time … We absolutely didn’t say the product is a defective product. We said we don’t know. We need to figure this out.”
“In this case, that didn’t go well,” he continued. “Mrs. Strum’s individual biology and health issues were the cause of the revision, not the device.”
Sarver added that revision rates were initially low. In 2006, patients had 12 revisions of 6,211 hips implanted; the next year, it was 64 of 16,881, or .38 percent, an “incredibly good number,” he said.
However, in September 2011, an internal analysis at DePuy showed that the revision rate had skyrocketed – 37% of ASR models failed in less than 5 years worldwide, while an Australian national database showed that their national failure rate was as high as 44%.
On Wednesday, March 13th, Andrew Ekdahl, president of DePuy Orthopedics, testified that the 2010 recall of 93,000 models was due specifically to the high revision rate.
“The revision rate was not acceptable,” Ekdahl said in court.
Sarver, however, argued that Ekdahl’s testimony is not an admission of guilt on DePuy’s part. He said that assuming DePuy’s recall is an admission of defect “is absolutely absurd.”
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with DePuy ASR and Pinnacle Metal Hip Replacement Injury Lawsuits
The FDA has said of DePuy’s all-metal hip replacement devices: “It is known that over time, the metal particles around some implants can cause damage to bone and/or tissue surrounding the implant and joint.” In addition, the FDA adds that there are a “small number of patients in which high levels of metal ions in the bloodstream may have caused other types of symptoms or illnesses elsewhere in the body, including effects on the heart, nervous system, and thyroid gland.”
If you or a loved one has received a metal hip replacement device, specifically from DePuy Orthopedics, and have since suffered painful side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.