Legal: DePuy aims to reverse $8.3M metal hip implant loss

legal gavel

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and its DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary are hoping to dodge an $8.3 million judgment stemming from the company’s 1st metal-on-metal hip implant complaint to go to trial.

DePuy last week asked the Los Angeles Superior Court to put a hold on the jury’s decision in a trial brought by patient Loren Kransky, who claimed his ASR hip failed less than 5 years after he received it.

In March the California jury ruled against J&J and DePuy, finding that the company’s ASR XL metal-on-metal hip implant was defectively designed. The jury ruled that the companies were negligent and ordered J&J to pay $8.3 million in damages.

DePuy asked the court for a stay on the final judgment to allow the company to file an appeal without bond. The company had issued a statement following the March jury decision, promising to file the appeal.

"We believe ASR XL was properly designed, and that DePuy’s actions concerning the product were appropriate and responsible," DePuy spokeswoman Lorie Gawreluk said in prepared remarks. "We plan to appeal the jury’s decision on design defect pending the outcome of post-trial motions. We believe we have a number of valid grounds for appeal, notably that the court didn’t let the company tell the jury about the Food & Drug Administration’s review and clearance of the device."

The companies are battling a slew of personal injury lawsuits as well as a highly subscribed multi-district lawsuit proceeding in Ohio. The 1st bellwether trials in th DePuy MDL are slated to begin in June, having been postponed from their previous May 13 date.

Lawsuits against DePuy began piling up in June 2010 when a a Florida woman accused the company of knowing about the devices’ problems but failing to warn physicians. That suit was followed days later by 3 more from California residents who all had to have revision surgery after the implant partially detached from their hip sockets.

DePuy voluntarily recalled the ASR in August 2010 "due to the number of patients who required a second hip replacement procedure, called a revision surgery," according to a company report. A report passed around internally in 2011, in the midst of the high-profile recall, concluded that 37% of DePuy’s ASR hip implants would require revision or replacement in less than 4.6 years.

Federal regulators in the U.S. have launched a probe into possible marketing violations for the ASR hip.

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