We are pleased to announce that a jury in Tulsa County, Okla., has returned a $2.5 million compensatory damage verdict in favor of Plaintiff Andrea Smith and against defendants DePuy Orthopaedics and DePuy International. Since the verdict was returned on Feb. 3, I can only give a brief summary of this case.
Mrs. Smith was implanted with DePuy ASR XL hips on both sides of her body. The first implant surgery was in October 2006 and the second in February 2007. She underwent revision surgeries to remove and replace the ASR devices in 2011 and 2012. She had significantly elevated metal ions before the revision surgeries. DePuy contended at trial that the devices were not defective and that she needed to have revision surgeries because of a “toe-in” gait on one side and a frayed medical cable (used to repair a fractured femur) on the other.
Tulsa County District Court Judge Linda G. Morrissey presided over the trial. The court permitted DePuy to present limited evidence pertaining to the FDA, and she permitted the Plaintiff to present evidence about the recall and about events that occurred after the date of Plaintiff’s original implant surgeries.
The jury found in favor of Plaintiff in her claim that the ASR was defectively designed, but found for DePuy on the claims for negligence and failure to warn. Jurors didn’t award punitive damages against DePuy.
This is the second verdict in favor of an ASR Plaintiff. In each case, the Plaintiff prevailed on the claim that the device was defective, but lost on the negligence claim. Notably, some jurisdictions do not recognize strict liability for defective medical devices. Neither jury awarded punitive damages. A third ASR case went to trial and resulted in a defense verdict based on a specific causation defense. More will be said on this trial next month.
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