Jury verdict- Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) will pay $8.3 million compensatory charges
Northern, WI 03/10/2013 (avauncer) –The metal-on metal hip implant manufactured by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)’ DePuy unit has been found to have severe defects and 93,000 units were recalled by the company in 2010. Of the 10,750 lawsuits that have been filed, the first one to go on trial saw a California jury deciding that the company had been negligent. Compensatory damages to the tune of $8.3 million have been awarded by the jury to the retired Loren Kransky. This amount includes medical expenses of $338,136 and $8 million for the emotional suffering and pain that he has suffered.
Lawyers aiming at getting punitive damages
Kransky had testified that he couldn’t walk, was in constant pain, and felt that the cobalt and chromium device’s debris was poisoning him. He also said that he had been totally debilitated and had to use a wheelchair for a short period of time which was a humiliating experience and that before that he faced a lot of difficulty with walking long distances. No damages have been awarded for negligence as the panel said that no injury had been caused to Kransky. The jurors also voted that since the company had already warned patients and doctors of possible risks of the implant, they are not liable to pay punitive damages. His lawyers said that they will get the punitive damages in the next trial. The ex-prison guard from Montana had filed the suit after suffering from injuries that were caused by the faulty hip implant.
Millions of dollars in compensation
Five years and 12 percent of hip implant failures could mean that Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) will be shelling out millions of dollars in compensation to patients. In Australia, 44 percent had failed in a 7 year period. On Feb 28Kransky’s attorney Michael Kelly is quoted to have said that beyond a failure, it is a public health disaster. Several patients had filed lawsuits complaining of pain, dislocations and revision surgeries. The argument from Kransky’s lawyers was that the company had ignored complaints from surgeons and had scrapped their own redesigning effort in 2008. The company intends to appeal on the design defect jury decision said Lorie Gawreluk the company spokesperson.
Company may not be as lucky the next time
A University of Michigan professor Erik Gordon said that this ruling has set the stage for future settlements from other plaintiffs. He said that the time will come when the jury will hit Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) hard by being more sympathetic to future complainants and it will have to pay punitive damages as well. Michael Zeller’s the J&J attorney argued that most of Kransky’s health problems were totally disconnected to the hip implant. He suffered from vascular disease, kidney disease, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The J&J lawyers also said that there were damaged blood vessels right across his body as well.
They reiterated that the hip implant was not the reason for the complications that he was suffering from. On March 11, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is slated to face its second trial over the ASR XL Hip implants. The Illinois nurse, Carol Strum had undergone an ASR implant in 2008 and it had to be removed in 2011.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) went up by 0.57% to close at $78.19