After losing one jury trial, Johnson & Johnson/DePuy can now celebrate the fact that a jury in a second case has ruled in its favor regarding the company's ASR all-metal hip implant.
The company's unexpected good fortune comes on behalf of an Illinois jury, Reuters reports, which declined to award damages to plaintiff Carol Strum. A DePuy spokeswoman commented to Reuters after the decision that the company took "appropriate and responsible" action to help Strum, including an initiative to address medical costs she faced after dealing with her initial ASR hip implant. As the story explains, Strum sued because she claimed her 2008 implant was defective and it doctors were forced to replace it three years later.
Assuming Strum's attorneys don't file an appeal, the outcome is a much more positive one then Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) first U.S. jury trial defeat in March (in Los Angeles), which will cost Johnson & Johnson $8.3 million. Separately, there's the New Jersey jury in a trial over a J&J vaginal mesh product that ordered the company to pay $11.2 million to a plaintiff who endured a number of repeat surgeries after the implant failed.
But Johnson & Johnson must still confront a global onslaught of lawsuits in the wake of its 2010 recall of the ASR implant system based on reports of mounting safety and mechanical problems. More than 10,000 lawsuits are still pending, alleging that J&J designed a defective product and didn't use proper safety and regulatory practices (though the company denies any wrongdoing). They claim the implant released metal fragments into their bodies, damaged tissue or simply didn't work properly. Based on the company's initial jury trial loss, lawyers representing 4,500 ASR implant patients in Australia are now pushing for a negotiated settlement in that country.
In other words, there are many, many more lawsuits to come.
- here's the Reuters story
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correctly refer to the J&J New Jersey trial as involving vaginal mesh, not the company's ASR hips implants.