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Closing Arguments in DePuy ASR Trial Begin

Mar 1, 2013

After more than a month of testimony, closing arguments began late this week in the trial against the DePuy Orthopaedics ASR metal-on-metal hip implant.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, the final phase of the trial brought by a former Montana prison guard began on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Loren Kransky alleges that DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, is guilty of negligence for designing a defective ASR hip implant and for failing to warn of its risks despite increasing reports of its early failure in recipients.

The defense closed its case earlier this week after attempting to prove that the complications Kransky suffered after receiving his ASR metal-on-metal hip implant were the result of his pre-existing medical conditions and not defects in the design of the device.

Kransky’s legal representatives spent a few weeks presenting evidence showing that not only does the ASR hip implant have a defective design but also that company executives knowingly withheld evidence that it was responsible for thousands of serious injuries to recipient.

Jurors will now be asked to weigh the evidence presented at this first of potentially thousands of trials which all make similar accusations against DePuy. Kransky is the first victim of the ASR hip implant to have his case reach a jury. There are more than 7,000 other lawsuits consolidated as part of a Multidistrict Litigation still pending against the company.

During this first trial, attorneys for Kransky presented ample evidence to show that the ASR metal-on-metal hip implant was defectively designed and that DePuy failed to conduct proper pre-market testing of it before launching it on the global market in 2003 and in the U.S. two years later. In that time, the company sold more than 92,000 ASR hip implants, also ignoring increasing reports from recipients of the device that it was responsible for serious injuries that led people to undergo painful and costly revision surgeries to replace it entirely.

In addition to the evidence pointing to its defective design, plaintiff attorneys also noted that executives ignored warnings from its own employees and consultants that the ASR hip implant had been linked to an inordinate number of injuries among recipients. Some surgeons testified that the early failure rates among their patients were as high as 40 percent.

The ASR metal-on-metal hip implant was recalled in August 2010 amid thousands of reports of its early failure around the world. DePuy maintains that the device is safe and problems believed to be caused by the implant were actually the fault of either an unhealthy patient - like in Kransky’s case - or surgeon errors caused by placing the device at extreme angles.

Kransky claims, like thousands of others who’ve experienced failures of the ASR metal-on-metal hip implant, that he suffered severe pain, inflammation, and elevated levels of metallic ions in his bloodstream that led to organ and tissue damage.

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