Unpicking The Kransky/DePuy Outcome

In the aftermath of the Kransky vs J&J/DePuy jury findings there is a bit of post-match analysis still to do. It’s important to understand who’s getting paid how much and for what.

So here goes.

First up, the company was found to have been negligent in the design of its ASR hip implant. As a consequence the company  has been ordered to pay Mr Kransky a total of just over $8.3M, the first $330K being for his medical bills, the balance being for physical pain and mental suffering.

Now, in case you’re thinking that sounds like a lot of money (and indeed it is), here’s what Kransky’s lawyers were really fighting for: They reckoned the company should pay a further $179M in what would have been punitive damages. Punitive damages could have been awarded if the jury had concluded that J&J DePuy had not warned consumers of the risks associated with the implant.

This is where it gets sticky, because, like most medical situations, it’s not black and white. Quite clearly the company had evidence of its product’s shortcomings before it ultimately withdrew and recalled it. And at least one juror had pressed for punitive damages on the basis that the company had not acted with due haste to address the issue. So what made them conclude that punitive damages were not due? Well, the company, for its part, says it acted appropriately in all matters, which presumably must have included informing consumers of the high revision rates being experienced. We’ll see, because future lawsuits, of which there are a few (potentially 10,750) are sure to press for punitive damages.

J&J DePuy is also saying it will appeal the jury’s decision in the Kransky case, standing behind its product and arguing that it undertook due measures to ensure its safety at all times.

The frankly mind boggling numbers involved mean we’ll all be watching this story unfold for many months yet.