Johnson & Johnson President Testifies at Chicago DePuy Trial

In our last post we discussed a recent $8.3 million verdict awarded to a retired prison guard who received a defective hip implant manufactured by J&J’s DePuy orthopedic subsidiary. The jury found that DePuy’s all-metal ASR hip implant was defectively designed and caused the plaintiff substantial amounts of pain and suffering.

The second of thousands of DePuy cases is going through trial in Chicago. J&J president Andrew Ekdahl testified yesterday that the company recalled 93,000 hip implants in late August 2010 because the implants were not “meeting clinical expectations.”

J&J seems to be straining to characterize its ASR implant recall as a proactive action when internal emails introduced into evidence indicate that the company was aware long before the recall that its implants had a failure rate many times higher than traditional hip implants. There are over 10,000 defective medical device lawsuits pending against the company.

The plaintiff in the Chicago case is 54-year-old Carol Strum. Her attorney alleges that Strum, an Illinois nurse, had to replace her all-metal hip implant just three years after receiving it.

Strum’s lawyer says that DePuy knew that the ASR hip implants were defective before her surgery but that the company sold off its inventory of dangerous hip implants to maximize its profits.

“Before Carol Strum ever had the ASR put into her body, DePuy knew that the design flaws in this defective device could cause it to shed those particles into patients, causing tissue death, causing high blood metal ion levels and the need for the serious and unnecessary second surgery,” the attorney said.