Much litigation has arisen out of the DePuy ASR™ Hip System, a cup-and-ball hip replacement system made of metal. The manufacturers had issued a voluntary recall of the parts in August 2010, and the litigation followed.

In fact, thousands of individual cases against Johnson & Johnson, whose DePuy orthopedic unit manufactured the hip replacement system, have been consolidated in federal district court in Ohio. The hip replacements have been the subject of many mass tort cases.

However, the New York Times recently reported that Johnson & Johnson lost its first trial over the DePuy hip replacement system. A state court jury in Los Angeles awarded more than $8.3 million in damages to a Montana man in the case, but it refused to award punitive damages because it found that DePuy did not act with fraud or malice. The jury awarded the plaintiff $338,000 in medical expenses and $8 million in pain and suffering.

The plaintiffs lawyers had asked that the jury award their client $36 million to $144 million, arguing that the DePuys executives had acted unethically by failing to warn doctors and patients about the defects in the product. After deliberating for more than five days, the jury declined to do so.

Johnson & Johnson found that the verdict was “mixed,” and it said that it would appeal. The company disputed the jurys determination that the hip replacement had been defectively designed. Another trial was scheduled to start in Chicago the following week, and other cases are expected to head to trial later this year.