DePuy Verdict Upheld
On Friday, California Judge J. Stephen Czuleger rejected DePuy Orthopedics request for a new trial, maintaining the March jury decision that found that the company’s metal-on-metal implants were defectively designed.
The judge’s decision upholds an $8.3 million award to Loren Kransky, a 65-year-old former prison guard who claimed he suffered serious health problems after an ASR system failed and metal debris spread through his body. Kransky claimed DePuy and its parent company Johnson & Johnson were responsible for injuries caused by the defective, and eventually recalled, A.S.R. hip implant.
Kransky’s was the first complaint to go to trial among the high-profile lawsuits over the implants. Johnson & Johnson announced shortly after the original trial that it would attempt to reverse the decision. The company is facing thousands of lawsuits worldwide over the defective A.S.R. joint, with the outcome of this suit closely watched. and losing this appeal could set a strong precedent for upcoming trials.
In his decision Judge Czuleger denied any attempts to appeal the ruling on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to provid enough evidence to establish that the products were defective in design.
In the Los Angeles trial, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, DePuy denied that it knew the device was defective. The company maintained that failure of the A.S.R. was entirely the result of surgeons implanting the device improperly.
The A.S.R. represents only a part of the biggest medical device failure in decades. Since its recall in 2010, the Smith & Nephew R3 and the Zimmer Durom Cup have also been recalled. The Stryker Rejuvenate was recalled in 2012 for metal contamination, but in that case the metal was leaching from the modular neck joint. Metal-on-metal joints still on the market such as the Biomet Magnum, the Encore and the Wright Profemur Converse, Dynasty, and Lineage are also failing at unacceptably high rates.
At the original trial in Los Angeles internal company documents were revealed that showed DePuy had long known of problems with the A.S.R. It was aware of abnormally high failure rates with the device yet it continued to market it aggressively in the United States even after company head Andrew Ekdahl was told by consultants that the device was faulty and failing at alarming rates.
The jury rebuked that argument entirely, and by upholding the verdict, Judge Czuleger sends a strong message to DePuy that try as it may to deny responsibility, it will ultimately have to answer to the victims of one of the greatest medical device failures in history.
DePuy Verdict Upheld