On April 16, 2013, a Chicago jury returned a defense verdict in favor of DePuy Orthopaedics, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, after deliberating for just over one day after a five-week trial. This was only the second jury trial of the almost 11,000 lawsuits filed against DePuy Orthopaedics (including about 500 lawsuits filed in Illinois) regarding so-called metal-on-metal hip implants.
The first trial resulted in an $8.3 million verdict in favor of the hip implant recipient on March 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California, when the jury determined that DePuy Orthopaedics ASR XL hip implant was defectively designed and that DePuy Orthopaedics failed to properly warn of the risks associated with the hip implant. However, the Los Angeles jury declined to award punitive damages in that case.
The Chicago woman received the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR XL hip implant in 2008 that had to be removed and was replaced with a different implant three years later (ASR stands for Articular Surface Replacement). The 54-year-old Chicago nurse’s hip implant was designed and manufactured using chromium and cobalt (hence, referred to as “metal-on-metal” implant because the ball and the cup were both made of metal) that her lawyers alleged caused metal particles to shed from the implant and enter her blood stream and harm the tissues around her implant. The defense attorneys argued that the Chicago woman was hyper-sensitive to the implant and noted that the woman still had the same amount of pain after her DePuy Orthopaedics implant was replaced with a different implant.
The DePuy Orthopaedics ASR XL hip implant was first sold outside of the United States in 2003 and a version was sold in the United States beginning in 2005. In August 2010, Johnson & Johnson recalled the hip implant after it determined that about 12% of the hip implants prematurely failed within five years after implantation. In the United States alone, approximately 93,000 of the hip implants had been implanted by the time of the recall. In Australia, data available in 2012 indicated that approximately 44% of the hip implants in Australia had failed within seven years of implantation.
DePuy Orthopaedics maintained that all of its actions related to the sale, marketing, and recall of the ASR XL hip implant had been appropriate despite internal DePuy Orthopaedics documents introduced during trial that allegedly indicated that company officials knew that the design of the ASR XL hip implant was defective much earlier than when it was recalled, which information was not provided to either patients or their physicians.
The Chicago jury, made up of seven women and five men, had originally sided against the plaintiff four-to-eight and ultimately found for the defendant. The jury’s forewoman was quoted after the trial as stating, “There was a majority that was for DePuy and a minority that was for the plaintiff. Their case was not strong enough for all 12 of us to agree.”
The case is captioned Strum v. DePuy, Case No. 2011-L-9352, Circuit Court of Cook County.
If you or a loved one may have received a defective hip implant or other defective joint replacement, you should promptly consult with a local defective implant attorney who may be able to investigate your defective hip implant claim for you and represent you in a defective implant case, if appropriate.
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