The fraud and negligence suit filed by Loren Kransky is the first of thousands waiting in the wings against Johnson and Johnson over its DePuy ASR all-metal hip implant device. The metal-on-metal hip implant was recalled in 2010 after problems were brought to light including high failure rates and incidents of metal toxicity.
Kransky’s case began with opening statements last Friday and many lawyers on both sides of the issue are eager to see how the case is ultimately resolved. If Kransky wins, the case could spell serious trouble for J&J which is already facing nearly 10,000 such lawsuits.
Lawyers for Kransky showed jurors a picture taken during a revision surgery of his hip joint. There was visible black material in the joint, something that the attorney said was metal shavings that had been slowly poisoning Kransky. The doctor testified in an audiotaped deposition that the surgery was necessary and without it Kransky would have died.
For their part, Johnson & Johnson claimed that Kransky had previously existing conditions that led to his health trouble and that metal shavings could not be blamed. They say Kransky did not get worse because of the implant and he never became better once it was removed.
The goal of J&J’s legal team is to try and avoid liability in each individual case. Though it’s clear that something went wrong with the product, they can’t deny significantly higher revision rates than other, similar products, the company is hoping that in specific instances other conditions can be found to be the cause of health problems.
Though J&J is fighting the first case very aggressively, the company has also put aside more than $1 billion to handle the costs associated with the lawsuits related to the ASR metal implants. Added bad news for J&J and other manufacturers of such devices came out just last week when the FDA issued a proposed order calling on companies that make all-metal hip replacements to provide additional information proving they are safe and effective before they will be allowed to continue selling them.
For the 500,000 Americans and more than 1,000,000 people around the world with metal hip implants, the verdict in the Kransky case will be closely watched. If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact the Georgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope McGlamry P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.
Source: “Maker Hid Data About Design Flaw in Hip Implant, Records Show,” by Barry Meier, published at NYTimes.com.
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