Johnson & Johnson Must Pay $8.3 Million Over Defective Hip, Jury Says
Published: Mar 11, 2013
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)’s DePuy unit defectively designed a metal-on-metal hip implant and was negligent, a California jury decided in the first of 10,750 lawsuits over the device to go to trial. The Los Angeles jury awarded $8.3 million in compensatory damages to Loren “Bill” Kransky, a retired prison guard from Montana, after finding that the design of the ASR XL hip caused his injuries. Jurors also found DePuy properly warned of the risks and didn’t owe punitive damages to punish the company. J&J, the world’s largest seller of health-care products, recalled 93,000 of the implants in August 2010, when it said 12 percent failed within five years. Last year, 44 percent failed in Australia within seven years. Analysts say the lawsuits could cost J&J billions of dollars to resolve. “This is not an imperfect hip, this is a public health disaster,” Kransky’s attorney Michael Kelly said in closing arguments on Feb. 28 after a five-week trial. “Somebody needs to tell them, ‘Don’t make Bill Kransky come to court. Build these things right. Don’t let this happen again.’” Patients such as Kransky, 65, complain in lawsuits of dislocations, pain and follow-up surgeries known as revisions. Kransky’s lawyers argued that DePuy failed to test the device adequately before selling it in the U.S. in 2005, buried surgeon complaints of mounting failures, and studied a redesign of the ASR before scrapping that effort in 2008. Punitive Damages: “I wanted punitive damages,” juror David Vega said after the verdict. He cited evidence that DePuy took too long to correct problems found with the device.