A Los Angeles jury recently awarded a DePuy ASR hip recipient, Loren “Bill” Kransky, $8.3 million for his injuries involving his hip replacement. This was the first of 10,750 DePuy ASR hip lawsuits to go to trial. The jury’s verdict, which came after 6 days of deliberation, included $338,136 in damages for medical expenses and $8 million for physical pain and emotional suffering.
Plaintiff attorney Brian Panish had requested $5.3 million in compensatory damages and as much as $179 million in punitive damage. Although the jury decided that DePuy did not owe punitive damages, Panish seems confident that they will come. “This is the first day of reckoning for DePuy,” he said after the verdict was announced. “We’ll get punitive damages in the next trial.” At least one juror answered to reporters that he wanted to give punitive damages based on DePuy’s delay in addressing the problem.
In opening arguments of the trial, internal DePuy documents revealed just how much DePuy knew about failure rates leading up to the recall (you can see them here). Kransky had his hip replaced in December 2007 and had his revision surgery in February 2012. As expected, DePuy focused on the Kransky’s other health conditions. “It’s not a case about a recall. It’s not about revision rates” argued Johnson & Johnson attorney Michael Zellers in his summation.
DePuy has already announced in a statement that they plan to appeal the jury’s decision. “We believe the ASR XL was properly designed, and that DePuy’s actions concerning the product were appropriate and responsible” said spokeswoman Lorie Gawreluk.
While this verdict is favorable for DePuy plaintiffs, there is still a long road ahead in resolving these claims. Even if DePuy is not successful in their appeal, this verdict cannot be used as an indicator of how every case will be compensated. The cases will be judged based on their own merits, and DePuy has made it clear they are not rolling over without a fight. Bellwether Trials, which will commence this spring, will be an important component to the litigation as well.
Contact us if you have any questions about your hip replacement, the litigation, and/or a potential claim.