February proved to go out with a bang for the first of 10,000 DePuy ASR hip lawsuits to go to trial in the U.S. as testimonies from two separate witnesses heard yesterday in California state court raised new questions about the recalled metal-on-metal hip replacement.

According to a Bloomberg.com report, the first witness called by Johnson & Johnson was an infectious diseases doctor whose testimony heard Feb. 26 said it was long-term infection that caused the plaintiff’s need for revision surgery, which he was allegedly forced to undergo after his ASR artificial hip failed early.

DePuy ASR Hip Recall Lawsuit Unfolds in L.A. Court

“The infection caused him pain, and the pain is why [the plaintiff] had revision surgery,” the witness told Los Angeles jurors. The type of infection he had was “the most common cause of artificial joint infections.”

According to the DePuy ASR hip lawsuit brought by the plaintiff, a 65-year-old former prison guard, he received the hip in December 2007 and had it removed in February 2012 after experiencing constant pain, swelling and other symptoms of metallosis (metal ion poisoning), which occurs when the metal components of the device fret and corrode, causing metallic debris to shed into the patient’s blood stream. The DePuy ASR recall was voluntary issued by the company in August 2010, and affected 93,000 implants.

During the trial, the Johnson & Johnson expert pulled up a medical report from 2009, in which the plaintiff’s doctor described swelling. He said he had the infection from that year until when he had the hip replaced. “It is impossible to completely cure an infected hip,” he said.

Also on Feb.26, a professor at Drexel University’s School of Biomedical Engineering testified his allegedly expert opinion on which angle the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip would have had to be inserted to ensure effectiveness.  However, his estimates may have been miscalculated, according to the article from Bloomberg.com.

J&J Witness Miscalculates Placement of Hip Device in DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuit

The second witness to be called by Johnson & Johnson said the cup placement for the hip should be inserted at a 45-degree angle. The plaintiff’s surgeon instead implanted it at a 63 or 65-degree angle, which is why it failed early, the professor said.

According to another report from Bloomberg.com, that was before the plaintiff’s attorney pulled out a protractor. When he placed the tool over the image of the allegedly defective hip, the actual angle of implantation was revealed to be 57.5 degrees, and not the 63 to 65 degrees estimated by the Johnson & Johnson expert.

“You are aware you can find a protractor at Walgreens, are you not?” the plaintiff’s legal counsel asked.

“I am,” said the witness who took the stand on behalf of Johnson & Johnson.

The company expert also said that because of the steep angle of the hip’s implantation, the metal ball joint was slightly dislocating whenever the plaintiff walked. However, he later admitted that none of the doctors or surgeons who surveyed the plaintiff’s condition before his revision surgery found any evidence of this dislocation.

How to File a DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuit

If you suffered injuries stemming from the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. Call an attorney at Bernstein Liebhard LLP for more information at (877) 779-1414.

Published February 27, 2013 by