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Johnson & Johnson Plaintiff: Profit Motive Led to Defective Hip Implant

Update Date: Mar 01, 2013 12:14 PM EST

The attorney for the plaintiff suing Johnson and Johnson for their metal-on-metal hip implants says that the company's pursuit of profits led it to sell an implant that was defective and wore out more quickly than that of their competitors.

Yesterday marked the beginning of closing arguments between the two sides in the court case Kransky vs. DePuy in Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Times, the plaintiff is Loren Kransky, a 65-year-old former prison guard. He had the metal implant from 2007 to 2012. His attorney argues that the guard suffered from metal poisoning and other health problems.

According to Bloomberg, his attorney Brian Panish says that the healthcare company failed to test its ASR implants adequately before it was sold in the United States, starting in 2005. The plaintiff also says that the company did not take into consideration the mounting complaints reported to surgeons during this time period and that the company failed to properly inform patients of its risks.

In 2010, Johnson & Johnson recalled 93,000 of the metal hip implants after they were found to have a higher than expected failure rates. Just last week, the company announced that the federal government is investigating its marketing of the implant.

In 2010, the attorney said that the implant had a failure rate of 12 percent, requiring revision surgeries. In Australia, the failure rate went up to 44 percent. Mr. Kransky says that he feared that the implant was poisoning him because it shed metal ions, and feared the revision surgery because he thought that it might kill him. Indeed, a test revealed that the level of metal in his body was eight times higher than what DePuy considered acceptable.

However, the health-care company says that Mr. Kransky's health problems are not a result of the implant. Instead, its attorneys argue that his cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, vascular disease and many other problems are unrelated to his hip.

Kransky is seeking $338,000 for his medical expenses, $5 million for pain and suffering and up to $179 million in punitive damages. The case is the first of nearly 11,000 court cases surrounding the implant that will go to trial.

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