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The first Johnson & Johnson DePuy hip implant lawsuit to go to trial has resulted in an $8.3 million jury award for one man's injuries.
This could be the first of many large jury awards, as more than 10,000 similar lawsuits have been filed nationwide, Bloomberg reports. Analysts say that means J&J may end up having to shell out billions of dollars.
The lawsuits allege that J&J's DePuy unit defectively designed its ASR metal hip implants, which caused painful injuries to thousands of recipients. The $8.3 million award will go to one of those hip implant recipients, Loren "Bill" Kransky.
The Kransky Case
Kransky's lawsuit was heard first because he has terminal cancer, according to his lawyers with the firm of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, based in San Francisco.
After receiving a metal hip implant in 2007, Kransky complained about dislocations, constant pain, and having to receive follow-up surgeries, reports Bloomberg. His implant was removed in 2012.
Kransky's lawyers argued that DePuy not only failed to properly test the device before it hit the market, but also hid complaints from surgeons about hip implant failures. The company even considered redesigning the hip in light of known problems while continuing to sell the defective hip, Kransky's lawyers alleged.
Jurors in Los Angeles found that J&J's DePuy unit was negligent in designing the hip implant, according to Bloomberg. However, jurors also found that the company had properly warned consumers of the risks of using the hip, and did not find that the company owed punitive damages.
Kransky had sought $5.3 million in compensatory damages and $179 million in punitive damages. The jury awarded Kransky $338,136 to cover his medical expenses and an additional $8 million for pain and emotional suffering.
After Friday's verdict, one juror said he'd wanted to award punitive damages based on evidence that DePuy allegedly knew about the problems and did not resolve the issues immediately. However, other jury members apparently did not agree.
The Potential Effect on Other Lawsuits
After five years of selling ASR hip implants, J&J recalled them in 2010. Now, some 10,750 lawsuits are pending against the health care product giant.
The Kransky decision is certainly good news for the other plaintiffs, as they now see that a jury has found J&J negligent for its design, and valued a recipient's injuries at more than $8 million.
Other courts may cite the Kransky decision to find negligence, and simply review the specific injuries claimed in other lawsuits to determine a damage award in those cases.
For its part, J&J vows to appeal the finding that there was a design defect with its ASR hip implants. The second J&J DePuy hip implant lawsuit is set to begin Monday in Chicago, Bloomberg reports.