Thursday, June 6, 2013

Trial Judge Affirms $8.3 Million Dollar Jury Verdict in First Trial Against Depuy for Recalled ASR Hips

A California Superior Court judge has denied DePuy Orthopaedics’ motions for new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict, upholding the $8.3 million judgment that resulted from the state’s first trial of a DePuy ASR hip implant case. The case is Kransky v. DePuy, BC456086, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.

In March, the jury hearing the DePuy ASR recall lawsuit in California found the ASR hip was defectively designed, and awarded more than $8.3 million to the Plaintiff, Loren Kransky. Mr. Kransky sued the company under the theory that the ASR was defectively designed as well as DePuy's failure to warn his doctors that its product was dangerous. He claimed that the ASR hip caused him to suffer severe side effects, including metal poisoning. The jury found in favor of Mr. Kransky on the design defect claim and in favor of DePuy on the failure-to-warn claim.

During that trial, evidence was introduced which indicated Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics, had knowledge that the ASR hip product was defective years before the recall was announced. The recall occurred in August 2010. However, that information was not shared with the public at large or the medical community. According to a New York Times report published on April 16th, much of the same evidence was introduced in a second trial that concluded last month in Illinois state court. However, the jury hearing that case found for Johnson & Johnson.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger issued his decision from the bench following a hearing May 24 and has scheduled a hearing in June on the plaintiff’s attorneys’ request for approximately $1.2 million in costs. DePuy submitted its motion for JNOV April 17th in the corporation’s bid to persuade Judge Czuleger to throw out the verdict. In their motion, Depuy argued that the jury had erred and its verdict was inconsistent.Thus far, there has been no written order.

Judge Czuleger ruled that although there was a "legitimate conflict" in the evidence at trial as to when DePuy knew that its ASR hip implants were dangerous, this did not bar Mr. Kransky's ability to hold DePuy liable for a defectively designed product. The judge also rejected DePuy's claim that the overall body of evidence was insufficient to support Mr. Kransky's verdict, noting that there was "strong evidence" in support of his claim.

Court records indicate that there are more than 11,000 DePuy ASR hip lawsuits currently pending throughout the United States, most of which have been filed in a multidistrict litigation underway in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. The first trials in the MDL are expected to begin in September 2013. That date is subject to change as the first bellwether case has been continued already this year. The ASR MDL is titled In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation – MDL 2197.

Our firm is currently investigating claims for those people who have been implanted with the DePuy hip replacement devices, both ASR and Pinnacles. If you would like a free case evaluation, please contact Chris Hellums at toll free 1-866-515-8880 or at