It’s been a few weeks since a Los Angeles jury awarded a plaintiff $8.3 million for the ordeal he was put through after being implanted with the DePuy ASR metal on metal hip implant, a device which later failed. Thousands of people have filed similar lawsuits, and one of those is currently underway in Chicago.
Like the Los Angeles trial before it, the proceedings have the potential to be quite revealing. Already, a former employee with DePuy has testified via video about an email he says outlined the thinking that design flaws with the all-metal implant were to blame for the heightened failure rates and problems with the device.
Said email is purported to have been sent by a marketing vice president at the company. Dated March 2009, the email explained that the design of the device was problematic. The testifying employee explained that this led him to think that the eventual recall was issued because of the exorbitant amount of revisions that were required because of a failure of the device.
This is contrary to the thinking expressed by Johnson & Johnson and Depuy, who have long claimed that design flaws were not the culprit for the recall. Still, one can’t deny the 93,000-unit recall in 2010, or the estimated 40%-plus revision rate reported in Australia within seven years of implantation.