SACRAMENTO (Aug. 24, 2017) – Consumer Attorneys of California president Greg Bentley today announced this year’s finalists for the organization’s two major member awards, Consumer Attorney of the Year. The winners will be revealed at CAOC’s Annual Installation and Awards Dinner Nov. 18, 2017 to be held in conjunction with CAOC’s 56th Annual Convention at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
Consumer Attorney of the Year is awarded to a CAOC member or members who significantly advanced the rights or safety of California consumers by achieving a noteworthy result in a case.
Among the nominated finalists are Walkup Melodia attorneys Michael A. Kelly, Matthew Davis, Khaldoun Baghdadi and Valerie Rose.
To be considered for the award the case must have finally resolved between May 15, 2016 and May 15, 2017, with no further legal work to occur, including appeals. In this case, the appellate court reached its decision in the summer of 2016 with the decision becoming final in the fall.
DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, introduced the ASR hip that, unlike traditional systems made of ceramic or plastic materials, was fabricated exclusively of metal. DePuy claimed the metal was so hard there would be no wear when the components rubbed against each other. The design was flawed, however, and after the hips were sold to doctors as a major advance, they began generating metal debris which is toxic to human tissue. Walking, standing, and stair climbing produced tiny metal flakes that traveled from the hip via the patient’s bloodstream. The debris produced tissue necrosis and cell death. The ASR was taken off the market when researchers projected that 40 percent of recipients would experience a device failure within five years requiring painful and dangerous follow-up surgery. Mike Kelly, Brian Panish and John Gomez led the legal team that sought justice for retired prison guard Loren Kransky while he was still alive after he was diagnosed with unrelated kidney cancer. They sought and obtained an order advancing the Kransky case to trial as the first ASR hip trial in the country. At trial their team showed that, despite its knowledge of the likelihood that patients would be harmed, DePuy failed to warn doctors or patients. The company rejected plans for a redesign because it would cost too much, favoring profits over patients. A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury found in favor of Kransky, and eight months later, with thousands of ASR lawsuits pending, Johnson & Johnson agreed to a multi-billion-dollar nationwide settlement.
Other members of the trial team and co-nominees are Brian J. Panish, John H. Gomez, Pete Kaufman, Brian Devine, Ken Seeger and Dean A. Goetz. The case is
Kransky, et al., v. DePuy, Inc., et al.