Attorney says There’s Light at the End of the Knee Lawsuit Tunnel

The first DePuy ASR trial is now underway in Los Angeles. Dr Shezad Malik, hip and knee attorney says that “plaintiffs are quietly confident they will prevail at trial based on the Johnson & Johnson smoking gun internal documents and based on the testimony of the plaintiffs’ experts.”

Dr Malik explains that right now there are many metal-on-metal hip litigation cases going on nationwide, mainly involving Depuy, Pinnacle, Zimmer, Biomet M2A Magnum Hip and Stryker Rejuvenate. “Last week there was significant testimony obtained at trial and documents were released in discovery,” says Dr Malik. “It appears that this is the first trial of over 10,000 lawsuits in the US of the federal MDL involving DePuy hips.

This trial involves tests from toxicologists and orthopedic surgeons, and it involves the plaintiff Loren Kransky, who had a Depuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant. He now has evidence of metallosis with elevated chromium and cadmium levels. In large amounts and different forms, chromium can be toxic and carcinogenic and cobalt has the potential for liver damage and other long term adverse health issues, which is caused by inflammation at the cellular level.

Kransky, age 65 and a former prison guard, claims that DePuy designed the ASR poorly and failed to test it adequately. Bloomberg reported (Feb 4, 2013) that Kransky’s ASR allegedly generated debris from a metal ball placed atop the femur and rotating in a metal cup implanted in the hip. That debris blackened the tissue and entered the bloodstream. It warned that this condition can potentially poison other hip recipients.

Kransky’s attorney, Michael Kelly, showed jurors that an internal DePuy analysis in September 2011 indicated a 37 percent failure rate of ASR hips within 4.5 years, and that Australian national registry data showed in 2012 that 44 percent failed after seven years. In court, J&J retaliated by trying to prove that Kransky’s elevated metal levels (i.e., chromium and cobalt) were because of his ill health, which includes, besides cancer, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and strokes.

“Kransky’s case was fast tracked and he had an early trial date because he is dying of terminal cancer,” Dr Malik explains. The trial so far appears most damaging for Johnson & Johnson because of the smoking gun Dr Malik refers to. “The internal J&J documents have shown the hip replacement failure rates are as high as 40 percent, but J&J denied that high level of the ASR.” As well, the world’s fifth-largest pharmaceutical company is saying that they withdrew their Depuy ASR hips in Aug 2010, citing market conditions rather than any admission of defective hips. Malik adds that studies have shown J&J knew about their own internal analysis as early as 2004.

“We believe that the plaintiffs will prevail at trial based on the smoking gun internal documents and based on the testimony of their experts,” says Dr Malik. “We are hopeful that a significant plaintiff victory may pave the way for a global settlement.”

If you haven’t filed a hip and knee claim yet, Dr Malik says there is still time. ”If you have filed a claim there is light at the end of the tunnel. We expect a positive plaintiff verdict within the next two or three weeks and if that is so, we can expect settlements to begin this year”.