A twelve person jury in Cook County, Ilinois rendered a verdict in favor of DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc in the second jury trial so far involving the recalled ASR metal on metal hip implant. The ASR was recalled in August of 2010 as a result of unacceptably high failure rates. In the first trial which was in Los Angeles, a month ago, the California jury found DePuy liable for 8.3 million dollars.
Interviews with jurors after the verdict revealed that four of the twelve jurors initially wanted to rule for the injured hip implant patient. In the end, the jurors said that they did not feel that the case was strong enough to convince all of the jurors to vote for the plaintiff.
In my experience as a trial lawyer, juries frequently demand stronger evidence than the law requires before they will award millions of dollars in a case. In cases where they have questions about the strength of the evidence they render a defense verdict.
I believe that the evidence is very strong that the DePuy ASR is a defective and dangerous product. That is why it was recalled. It sounds to me from the juror interviews that in this case the jury's concern was whether the plaintiff's need for a revision surgery was because of the defect in the product or for some other reason. Apparently, the injured plaintiff in this case continued to have pain and problems even after the DePuy ASR was removed. the DePuy attorneys had argued that the plaintiff had a metal sensitivity to any metal in her body and that her problem would have occured no matter what type of metal implant she had.
The jury in this case certainly did not say that the DePuy ASR is a good product. This verdict, in my opinion, was a verdict about the causation of the plaintiffs pain not whether the product was defective or not.
All trial lawyers know that jury trials are unpredictable and are a gamble for both sides. There is almost no such thing as a slam dunk case for either side.
There are numbers of other jury trials scheduled this year and each case has variations and differences. I believe in the end most of the verdicts will be against DePuy because the ASR is one of the worst hip implants ever put on the market.
On balance, the number of verdicts for the plaintiffs versus ones for the defendants will likely influence the amounts that will certainly be offered by DePuy to settle the vast majority of these cases. That is why these early cases are called bellwether cases.
Settlement of lawsuits is always a compromise on both sides. A plaintiff verdict for $8 million doesn't mean that DePuy will pay millions per case and one defense verdict does not mean that DePuy will not be interested in paying substantial sums to settle these cases.
Winning a baseball game early in the season or getting shut out in a game in April doesn't really tell you how a team will fare in the playoffs or the world series. The litigation against DePuy will go on and we will not be discouraged by a defense verdict or two. That goes with the territory of being trial lawyers fighting for rights of injured consumers against major corporations.
Admitted to both the California State Bar and the Florida State Bar, Joseph Saunders has also practiced in the United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals. His philosophy is to provide aggressive, quality representation and seek fair compensation for individuals and their families who have suffered injury or death at the hands of insurance companies, large corporations, medical providers or governmental entities.