A trial attempting to determine the level of responsibility Johnson & Johnson should bear in the design and marketing of a defective hip implant is winding to a close, and Brian Panish of Panish Shea & Boyle was there to present closing arguments on behalf of a man injured by the implant.
Mr. Panish has been presenting the case of a retired prison guard named Loren Kransky. In December 2007, Kranksy was implanted with the DePuy ASR metal on metal hip implant, a device that had to be removed less than five years later. The lawsuit contends that DePuy both put forth a defectively designed product and failed to notify patients and medical professionals of the risks of using the device. Testing which could have exposed certain issues wasn’t sufficiently carried out and complaints from surgeons and patients failed to trigger an adequate response from the company.
This sentiment was echoed by Mr. Panish during closing arguments in Los Angeles today. He argued that defects plagued the item from the moment it arrived on the market, and these defects led to unprecedented rates of injury among patients. In Australia alone, Mr. Panish cited an astounding 44% failure rate within five years, a number that’s much higher than the original 12% suggested by DePuy.
Mr. Panish argued that the plaintiff is entitled to $5 million for pain and suffering and $338,000 for reimbursement of medical expenses. To send a message to DePuy, a company which has yet to acknowledge responsibility for this entire episode, Mr. Panish also called upon the jury to force DePuy to pay up to $179 million in punitive damages.
The attorney for Johnson & Johnson argued that the plaintiff’s injuries could not be attributed to a defect in the DePuy ASR device. With upwards of 10,000 additional lawsuits awaiting trial, it’s now up to the jury to decide whose evidence is more compelling.