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The first DePuy hip implant trial is underway in Los Angeles. In the case of Kransky v. DePuy, testimony has emerged that the DePuy ASR hip replacement system failed to pass Johnson & Johnson’s internal safety standards. Counsel for the plaintiff contends that the manufacturer knew the risks of the DePuy hip implant, but deliberately concealed them. DePuy’s design team claims to have found the risks of the product to be minimal, however, emails between Johnson & Johnson company officials acknowledge the defects and the need for a redesign.

Consultant George Samaras testified that the DePuy ASR hip released 16 times more cobalt and chromium ions into the body than another DePuy hip implant product. The Kranskys allege that Plaintiff Loren Kransky suffers from metal poisoning and other problems as a result of the defective hip replacement.

Dr. Robert Harrison, a toxicologist, gave testimony on the adverse effects of cobalt and chromium in the bloodstream. Harrison said that the dangers of metallosis are twofold. The first danger is “local damage” affecting the tissues around the hip implant. Cells and genes can be injured from sustained elevated levels of cobalt and chromium. The second danger is “systemic.” Metal ions can be carried throughout the body, impacting the central nervous system. Harrison stated that the scientific and medical professions have been aware of the dangers of metallosis from metal implants since the 1970s. Dr. Harrison testified that Plaintiff Loren Kransky had “seven or eight times the level (of cobalt and chromium) set by the California Poison Control department.”

More than 10,000 lawsuits are pending nationwide, including 7,000 in multidistrict litigation before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Johnson & Johnson is reported to have offered each of the plaintiffs $200,000 to settle their defective hip replacement claims. Attorneys for the hip implant plaintiffs rejected the $2 billion settlement offer. Approximately 33,000 people received DePuy ASR implants in the United States.

For more information, contact the Ohio DePuy hip replacement attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: The New York Times, “During Trial, New Details Emerge About Hip Maker,” Barry Meier, January 30, 2013.