More than 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson for a faulty hip implant created by the company’s DePuy Orthopedics division. Recently, the first lawsuit was settled. Jurors awarded a man more than $8.3 million to cover his medical expenses as well as the pain and suffering he endured as a result of the defective product.

We first wrote about the Articular Surface Replacement hip implant in January. Lincoln readers of this blog may recall that the implant was unique because it was made entirely of metal, whereas traditional hip implants are made of metal and plastic.

The A.S.R. hip implant was first sold in the United States in 2005. However, the device was recalled in 2010 after it was discovered that the metal pieces can grind together, resulting in the erosion of the metal surfaces. Metallic debris can cause damage to a person’s tissue and bone.

People with traditional hip implants can expect to replace them in about 15 years. However, an internal analysis by Johnson & Johnson revealed that 40 percent of people who had the A.S.R. implanted will need it replaced within just five years.

Jurors in the first lawsuit found that Johnson & Johnson “did not act with fraud or malice.” However, the more than 10,000 lawsuits could end up costing the company billions of dollars. The company says they plan to appeal the verdict in this first case.

People in Nebraska and others living elsewhere trust that medical device manufacturers are working diligently to prevent patient harm. Manufacturers should be held responsible when patients suffer adverse side effects and serious complications because of a faulty product.

Source: The New York Times, “J.&J. Loses First Case Over Faulty Hip Implant,” Barry Meier, March 8, 2013

•· Our firm works with people who have been harmed as a result of a defective hip implant. To learn more, please visit our Lincoln hip implant recall page.