A California Jury returned an $8.3 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy in the first trial regarding a plaintiff who was implanted with the recalled DePuy ASR hip implant. Over 10,000 plaintiffs across the United States have filed similar lawsuits against DePuy, and many of those plaintiffs required a revision to remove the recalled DePuy ASR hip implant. Often times, these plaintiffs had elevated levels of cobalt and chromium ions detected from taking a cobalt and chromium blood test. Ultrasounds and MARS MRIs detected joint-fluid build-up and tissue reactions indicative of ALVAL (Aseptic lymphocyte-dominated vasculitis-associated lesion). Surgeons who performed the revisions of these recalled DePuy hip implants often noted in the revision reports their findings of blackened, necrotic, dying tissue, joint fluid build-up around the hip implant, formation of pseudotumors or cysts, cracks in the acetabulum, and/or wearing away of the adductor muscles that allow the hip joint to function. These revision reports often stated that the acetabular cup was grossly loosened and the acetabulum bone had failed to osseointegrate or grow around the cup to lock it in place. Mr. Kransky, the plaintiff in the first DePuy ASR XL hip implant trial, also tested positive for high levels of cobalt and chromium in his bloodstream, and suffered from many of these complications due to cobalt and chromium ions being shed from the DePuy ASR XL hip implant.
The defense attorneys for DePuy raised several arguments during Kransky’s California trial in attempt to try and muddy the issues. First, DePuy tried to allege that plaintiff attorneys across the nation, and in Mr. Kransky’s case, had somehow persuaded plaintiffs to have unneeded revisions. Mr. Kransky’s surgeon testified that Mr. Kransky needed a revision because his levels of cobalt and chromium were very alarming and were deteriorating Mr. Kransky’s body. The decision of whether to revise a defective DePuy ASR implant is between a patient and his or her surgeon, and many other surgeons across the United States have reached conclusions similar to Mr. Kransky’s surgeon. Second, DePuy tried to allege that cobalt and chromium ions are not harmful to people by stating that ingestion of these substances often occurs while taking vitamin supplements or in other scenarios. However, the common toxicology phrase, “the dose makes the poison,” illustrates the fallacy in DePuy’s defense. DePuy failed to show any testing or literature that demonstrated that having high levels of cobalt and chromium in the bloodstream for several years was not harmful to the patient. Rather, the jury’s verdict shows that they believed the testimony that Mr. Kransky’s high levels of cobalt and chromium, along with the pain he was suffering from the hip, necessitated his revision.
The DePuy ASR MDL has two cases that are actively being prepared for trial, to take place in May and July of this year. Judge Katz, a Northern District of Ohio federal judge, will preside over the two trials. The first two MDL trials will likely have a dramatic impact on the more than 8,000 lawsuits that have been filed in the DePuy ASR MDL (which is also presided over by Judge Katz).
Learn more about DePuy Hip Lawsuits