Merely a week ago I wrote about what an $11.1 million jury verdict in a vaginal mesh lawsuit in New Jersey meant for other women with those meshes and involved in the nationwide litigation. Yesterday came big news in another litigation we are heavily invested in: the DePuy ASR hip implant recall. A jury in Los Angeles awarded over $8 million to a Loren “Bill” Kransky and his wife for injuries arising from his recalled DePuy ASR XL hip implant. (Reuters article, Bloomberg article.) Over $300,000 was for his medical expenses, and the rest was for pain and suffering.
It was obviously a big win, but the big question for us, our clients, and the other thousands of patients with recalled DePuy hip implants is: what does it mean for the other cases?
Initially, it doesn’t mean anything. Bill Kransky and his wife now have a verdict against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy and a couple related companies. The defendants will inevitably file post-trial motions arguing that the judge made erroneous rulings during the trial and that the jury made factual findings that could not rationally be supported by the evidence. These are all standard legal procedures, and they will almost inevitably result in an appeal, which will take months, potentially a year or more. Meanwhile, the thousands of DePuy lawsuits filed in the federal multidistrict litigation will continue moving forward.
That said, the verdict and the evidence developed at trial do create indirect benefits for other patients who received the recalled ASR XL hip and who have filed (or will file) claims, by showing how seriously juries take these injuries, and how upset they are with Johnson & Johnson / DePuy’s cavalier attitude towards safety.
That said, let’s start with a couple important distinctions in the Kransky case.
But perhaps the biggest distinction relates to the preparation of the defendants. While we, as plaintiffs’ lawyers, have known for some time how strong the evidence was against the company, the company hasn’t known how our theories and strategies would pan out at trial. Now they’ve seen one trial, put together by multiple teams from the multiple coordinated litigations. The defendants are spending literally millions of dollars on attorneys just to learn from these trials, and they will do so.
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