Johnson & Johnson and its orthopedics unit DePuy seek to overturn a Los Angeles jury’s decision to award $8.26 million to a plaintiff for injuries he received from a metal-on-metal DePuy ASR hip implant. The companies claim that the jury’s findings were inconsistent with court instructions about defective product design and adequate warning of the device’s risk.
The verdict DePuy and its parent company want to overturn concluded the first U.S. trial involving defective ASR hip implants. Plaintiff Loren Kransky sued DePuy and affiliated companies after the ASR device he had implanted in his left hip in 2007 failed and left him with extensive bone and tissue damage. Mr. Kransky’s case was tried in Los Angeles Superior Court in February and ended in March with the multimillion-dollar ruling for the plaintiff.
DePuy submitted a motion for a jury notwithstanding verdict (JNOV), requesting that the judge overrule the jury’s findings, or a new trial.
DePuy faces more than 10,000 lawsuits in the U.S., brought by plaintiffs who allege all-metal ASR hip implants made by the company failed prematurely, setting off a chain reaction of injury and illness within the body.
Tests have shown that the devices’ all-metal construction can cause chromium and cobalt particles to leech into the blood and tissue around the implant site. Many patients with DePuy ASR implants have had to undergo revision surgery to replace the hips with more conventional devices that incorporate ceramic or plastic parts. These revision surgeries are sometimes difficult for surgeons to perform when bone and tissue around the implant has been damaged.
Patients with ASR hip implants may also experience intense pain and a spectrum of other adverse symptoms stemming from metallosis, a condition caused by excessive levels of metal in the blood.
DePuy recalled its ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems in August 2010 after data from a U.K. joint registry found 12-13 percent of the devices failed within the first five years. Subsequent data indicated failure rates could be even higher, prompting U.K. surgeons to call for a ban on all-metal hip replacements.
Mr. Kransky’s case was chosen as the first ASR hip replacement case to go to trial in California, where hundreds of others have lawsuits pending. Mr. Kransky, a kidney cancer patient, was selected to have his case heard because he may not have much longer to live.