Awful San Diego Motorcycle Accidents Strike Oceanside and Mission Valley

Our San Diego motorcycle accident attorneys were dismayed to learn about two recent fatal wrecks – one in Mission Valley and one in Oceanside.

According to news reports, on August 11th, a motorcyclist ran off the road and smashed into a fence on Village Drive, next to the Arrowhead Golf Course. Investigators believe the bike left the road at high speed. A bystander later found the man on the ground. Rescue workers tried to resuscitate him, but he died at the scene. If anyone witnessed the crash or has any other information, please call Sergeant Gabe Jimenez of the Oceanside Police at 760-435-4624.

Meanwhile, in Mission Valley, just five days later, 23-year-old Robert Michael Campbell died, when he rear-ended an Acura on I-15. The vehicle had slowed because of traffic that had backed up at the I-8 exit ramp. Rescue workers provided life support at the scene and took him to a local hospital, but he died in the ER, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office. Mr. Campbell had been an active military service member; he is survived by his wife.

Learning from These Motorcycle Crashes

In both of these cases, investigators must confront an array of puzzling questions. Such as:

  • What factors contributed to the crashes? (Possible examples include: weather, drug or alcohol use, speeding, negligent or careless driver behavior, mechanical problems with the bike, etc.)
  • Did anyone see what happened? If so, what did the witness see, and how reliable is that person’s perspective?
  • Did the motorcycle victim get adequate care from first responders and doctors?

Unfortunately, motorcycle victims and their families often lack enough information – both about their crash and about their legal rights – to make effective decisions.

If you or someone you know suffered serious injuries in a bike crash, please connect with experienced San Diego motorcycle attorney, Dean Goetz, to set up a free consultation. Call 858-481-8844 now. And please honor the memory of these two motorcyclists by paying extra attention to your safety and to the safety of others out there.

BMW Titan, Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, Dies in Horrendous Motorcycle Accident in England

Our San Diego motorcycle accident attorneys were saddened to learn about the death of Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, an innovator in the automotive industry, who served as Chairman of BMW M GmbH. The 63-year-old had been an avid fan of vintage motorcycles. He was practicing to compete in a major racing event in England — “The Lansdowne Classic Series at Brands Hatch” — when he make a bad turn and fell. A competitor then struck Kalbfell, who died from his injuries while on the way to hospital.

An engineer by trade, Kalbfell played a pivotal role in designing and developing cutting-edge automotive technology, including the BMW V12. He got his company’s engines into elite vehicles, such as the McLaren F1, the Morgan and the Phantom. He also headed up world famous brands, such as Rolls Royce, Maserati, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo, and consulted for Paragon, the company that created the renowned Artega GT.

Lessons for San Diego Motorcycle Crash Victims and Their Families

A good way to honor the memories of people hurt or killed in motorcycle crashes is to transmit their lessons to the next generation. Here are 3 important thoughts to take away from this story.

1. Even intimate knowledge of your machine cannot protect you from freak accidents.

Few people in the world understood automotive engineering at an elite level better than Mr. Kalbfell. Yet a momentary unwelcome turn of events led to his fatal injuries. No matter how well you tune and maintain your bike – and how safely you drive – anything can happen on the road.

2. Bad accidents often involve more than just “one thing” going wrong.

In the case of Kalbfell’s crash, first he lost his traction, and then the competitor hit him from behind, causing the fatal injuries. Would he have survived – or even escaped unscathed – had the competitor avoided him? That speculation is impossible to answer. The point is that motorcycle crashes in San Diego (and elsewhere) are surprisingly dynamic. Do not assume that you know what caused your crash and who should be to blame.

3. Aggressive motorcycle driving is inherently dangerous.

The faster you ride, and the more risks you take on the road, the more likely you are to get into a serious crash. To minimize problems, avoid racing, showboating, or driving without your helmet and safety gear. Such precautions might not save you. But they will reduce your overall risk.

If you or a loved one got hurt in a San Diego motorcycle crash, connect with attorney Dean Goetz and his team now to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Call 858-481-8844 now.

Where Will Stryker Get The Money to Pay Defective Hip Replacement Plaintiffs? Perhaps from the $228 Million It Just Won from Zimmer.

You or someone you love has experienced pain, metal poisoning, false tumors, or other horrendous symptoms as a result of Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II modular-hip devices. You’re both furious and scared. Your defective hip has cost you dearly in terms of lost work time, major medical bills, and nursing and rehab costs… not to mention incalculable pain and anxiety.

So how does a company like Stryker obtain funds to compensate people like you?

Here’s one source…

The Associated Press reports that Stryker Corporation recently won $228 million in damages from a rival medical device company, Zimmer Holdings Inc. The two companies both create and market orthopedic medical devices.

Stryker took its rival to court in 2010, alleging that Zimmer engaged in patent infringement. At issue were Zimmer’s Pulsavac Plus lavage devices — instruments used in surgery to spray and suction out wounds and tissue.

After reviewing evidence, the jury found that Zimmer willfully infringed on Stryker’s patents, and it awarded Stryker $70 million in damages. U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker then tripled that award, because Zimmer infringed on three separate patents. Judge Jonker came down hard on Zimmer, saying “the trial proof demonstrated that this was not a close case.” He even said that the $210 million verdict “may not be enough, without enhancement” to prevent Zimmer from infringing again, because its strategy of copying Stryker proved so lucrative. The Judge added $18 million to the $210 million to cover interest and other costs.

Zimmer plans to appeal both the judge’s ruling and the jury’s verdict.

Implications for Your Potential Legal Action Against Stryker for Defective Hip Problems

The Stryker-Zimmer feud demonstrates just how much money corporations play for when they compete in the medical device market. Companies like Stryker bring in large annual revenues. This cash flow, in part, is how they’re able to afford to litigate mass tort lawsuits. For help understanding what to do next regarding your Stryker defective hip case, call attorney Dean Goetz at 858-481-8844 to obtain a free and confidential consultation.

Groundbreaking Oregon DOJ cases target doctors' failure to inform patients about device payments

The Oregonian By Nick Budnick,
August 06, 2013

Doctors who get paid by makers of artificial implants for using their product must let patients know about it, according to a first-of-its-kind legal action by the Oregon Department of Justice.

[…] The case could ripple nationwide, exposing a little-known but common practice of payments to doctors from implant manufacturers.

Calif. Trial Judge Denies JNOV, Upholds $8.26 Million Judgment in DePuy ASR Hip Case

LOS ANGELES — A California Superior Court judge has denied DePuy Orthopaedics’ motions for new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict, upholding the $8.26 million judgment that resulted from the state’s first trial of a DePuy ASR hip implant case.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger issued his decision from the bench following a hearing May 24, according to a source, and has scheduled a hearing later this month on plaintiff’ bid for approximately $1.2 million in costs.

There has been no written order and a transcript of the proceedings is not yet available.

DePuy submitted its motion …

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San Diego Car Driver Runs Stop Sign Injures Motorcycle Rider

San Diego, CA
A 46 year old woman ran a stop sign in the Normal Heights area of the city San Diego and hit a motorcycle in the intersection.  The 26 year old motorcycle driver broke his arm and his passenger fractured her pelvis.  Once again an automobile driver failed to pay attention to the road ahead and failed to see a motorcycle even though it was broad daylight.
If you are an injured motorcycle driver or rider, call Dean Goetz @ 858-481-8844 for legal assistance.  He will personally handle your case.

FIRST verdict in the USA against Depuy for $8,328,000

March 8, 2013 at 9:38 a.m. PST

A jury found Depuy liable to Mr. Loren Bill Kransky today in a Los Angeles Superior Court.

The jury awarded Mr. Kransky $8,000,000 in general damages and $328,330 in compensatory damages.

Attorney Dean Goetz of the Law Offices of Dean Goetz and John Gomez of the Gomez firm represented Bill Kransky, who was a Montana resident.

This is the FIRST verdict in the United States against Depuy and it is for $8,328,000.

If you have a hip device and you want the lawyers who represented Mr. Kransky on your side, call Dean Goetz 858-481-8844   or John Gomez 619-237-3490


Bill Kransky stepping into the Pacific Ocean with his lawyers,  Dean Goetz and John Gomez.
Bill Kransky stepping into the Pacific Ocean with his lawyers,
Dean Goetz and John Gomez.

Kransky v. DePuy Trial – Day Twenty-Two 2/28/13 – last day of trial

The last day of trial consisted of closing arguments from both sides, and instructions on the applicable law.

Brian Panish began with Plaintiff’s closing argument.  He began by thanking the court for running everything so smoothly and efficiently.  He then thanked the jury for their time and commitment.  Mr. Panish quoted Abraham Lincoln saying the greatest act of citizenship one can engage in is sitting on a jury, that together the individuals become the conscience of the community.

Mr. Panish reiterated that companies like DePuy make a profit by providing pain relief to patients, and in this case through orthopedic hip implants.  But that with that profit, manufacturers are responsible, or strictly liable, when they put out a defective product and that product causes harm. He continued by pointing out that the Defendants rather than be held accountable, tried to switch the focus of the case to Mr. Kransky’s medical condition, and failed to explain away any of the incriminating emails, statements, and evidence of their own wrongdoing.

As to DePuy’s overarching goal as a company to profit, Mr. Panish noted that Randy Kilburn himself described the company by saying “[w]e are a competitive company, and hips and knees are a competitive market.  We wanted to be a ruthless competitor.”  Mr.  Panish explained that while a company needs to do business for profit, there was never any talk of patient safety, that once DePuy noticed problems with the ASR and its early failure rates no one stopped to think about the patient.  Instead, the employees only considered what was best for the company.

Most of Mr. Panish’s closing argument on behalf of Plaintiff Bill Kransky consisted of summarizing the causes of action at play in this case and reasoning with the jury that Plaintiff has prevailed on each and every one.  He explained that DePuy is strictly liable for creating a defective product, and also for a failure to warn.  He also explained how DePuy was negligent in their actions with respect to the ASR.

Mr. Panish took the jury through the liability phase of the closing argument, highlighting how defective the ASR was.  He next took them through the causation elements, reasoning how as a result of the defective design of the ASR, Mr. Kransky (and numerous others) were injured.  He reasoned that the ASR caused injuries to Mr. Kransky.  At one point, describing DePuy’s refusal to test the ASR or hire a toxicologist Mr. Panish exclaimed “Did they test about it? Did they get a toxicologist? No.  They just wanted to play Russian roulette and take the risk.  Because they’re getting money.  Who’s taking the risk?  The patient.  Not Mr. Kilburn.  Not Mr. Graham Isaac.  The patients.  And they gambled.”

Mr. Panish also commented on the Defendants’ proffered experts, highlighting the fact that one such expert is considered the “go-to-guy” in the defense industry, the same expert who in a PG&E case regarding bad groundwater, did everything he could to help the industry despite numerous injuries to individuals.  That very expert, Dr. Paustenbach, was paid $5 million to testify in the Kransky case.

Regarding DePuy’s failure to warn, Mr. Panish reiterated that a great deal of internal data existed, showing the ASR was having problems.  DePuy never warned others that internal testing was showing massive wear, nor the fact that they tested the ASR at only one angle.  DePuy instead created a confidential redesign project called ALPHA once the ASR began to have problems.  The project was ultimately discarded as unprofitable.

Mr. Kransky’s own implanting surgeon, Dr. Wendt, testified that had he known these dangers and defective design of the ASR, he would not have used the device. That failure to warn by DePuy caused Mr. Kransky’s injuries.

As to negligence, DePuy’s own employee testified that the performance with respect to design failure modes and effects analyses was inadequate.  They were negligent.  Mr. Panish explained that the standard for DePuy was to roll out a metal-on-metal device that was at least as good or better than others on the market.  The ASR was neither.  Mr. Panish reasoned with the jury that when a company like DePuy has these problems, it should stop and go fix the design.  The fact that DePuy never did so was negligent.  The fact that DePuy encountered numerous red flags with respect to the ASR, but never acted on any of them, constitutes negligence.

Ultimately, Mr. Panish asked on behalf of Mr. Kransky, for economic damages (medical expenses) and non-economic damages for pain and suffering.  Mr. Kransky’s medical expenses totaled $338,136.12.  As to Mr. Kransky’s non-economics, Mr. Panish described the unrelenting pain he endured, unable to do anything for himself including take a shower or dress, falling in the middle of the street,and the loss of his independence generally.  Mr. Panish asked the jury to award $5 million to Mr. Kransky’s for his pain and suffering.

Mr. Panish then discussed a very important element in this case, punitive damages.  Punitive damages, or exemplary damages, are intended to punish for certain behavior and set an example.  The fact that DePuy acted with conscious and intentional disregard of the dangers of the ASR would call for a punitive damages award.  Mr. Kilburn himself admitted that if a company ignores numerous red flags, as was the case with the ASR, then the company is acting in conscious disregard for the safety of others.

Mr. Panish discussed the fact that not once throughout the trial did someone from the DePuy camp apologize for what happened with the ASR.  Mr. Ekdahl, the worldwide president, refused to show up for the trial.  In reasoning with the jury, Mr. Panish commented that the punitives should be something that catches the attention of these people, that DePuy needs a sound solid message sent to them.  He also brought up the fact that even when DePuy finally determined the ASR to be defective and knew it was failing, rather than stop selling, the company “rationalized,” meaning they made a business decision to sell off the remaining implants.  DePuy continued selling the defective ASR to be placed in numerous patients’ body, all while knowing that it was dangerous.

On the issue of numbers, Mr. Panish reasoned with the jury to choose a number that Mr. Ekdahl would notice, one that would make him take a second look and think about his shareholders, his stock options, that something needs to be done. A number that would deter DePuy and warn others against similar acts.  The company is valued at 3.575 billion.  This means that just one percent of the company is $36 million dollars.  Mr. Panish then explained that one percent would not get anyone’s attention and that DePuy sold off an extra $24 million in the defective ASR product earlier.  Only 2% of the company is $72 million.  Mr. Panish said maybe DePuy would not do it a second time if they were to owe this much.  But only 5% of the company amounts to $179 millions.  A number that high would likely register with DePuy, or possibly 10% at $357 million.  Ultimately, Mr. Panish told the jury he believed that between 2 and 5 percent would be the proper amount for punitive damages against DePuy.


Next, Mr. Zellers gave the closing argument for Defendants.  He thanked the jury and court for their time.  He began by  telling the jury that until the time of the recall, late 2010, the reported complaints to DePuy were “very low.”

Mr. Zellers claimed that DePuy is not strictly liable in the first cause of action because the ASR’s design was not defective. He also raised the defense that Mr. Kransky’s revision was not caused by the ASR, but by infection.  Mr. Zellers again raised the defense that Mr. Kransky’s ASR was implanted at a bad angle and subluxation occurred.

Mr. Zellers argued that the hip did not worsen Mr. Kransky’s overall medical condition and health.  He argued that DePuy had actually performed extensive testing and development of the  ASR.  For these reasons, he argued that DePuy was neither strictly liable with  respect to design and warnings, nor to negligence as a result of the company’s behavior.

The jury will now begin deliberations.

Kransky v. DePuy Trial – Day Twenty-One 2/27/13

February 27th marked the last day of the Kransky trial before closing arguments were given and the jury began deliberation.  Mr. Kelly, for Plaintiff, continued the cross-examination of defense expert Dr. Cuckler.  Mr. Kelly asked Dr. Cuckler why he, rather than those doctors who designed the ASR (Dr. Schmalzried and Dr. Vail), was hired to testify regarding the ASR.  Dr. Cuckler agreed that Dr. Vail and Dr. Schmalzried would be in a better position to explain what was going on in the mind of the DePuy executives about safety and efficacy to the extent they had contact with those executives during the design process.  Dr. Cuckler also agreed that in the case of a device like the ASR, clinical tests would be the ultimate tests in determining how this device works in the patient.

Mr. Kelly remarked on Dr. Cuckler’s comment that an “astounding” amount of simulator labratory testing had been performed on the ASR.  He asked Dr. Cuckler whether this testing predicted that the device would be recalled, whether it predicted the 44% failure rate in the Australian registry, the 8,000 premature revisions that occurred, Dr. Schmalzried’s 23% minimum revision rate at five years, pseudotumors, metallosis, cup loosening, adverse tissue reactions and so on.  Dr. Cuckler conceded that the simulator testing performed on the ASR failed to predict any of those things.

Mr. Kelly asked Dr. Cuckler whether patients and doctors had a right to rely on DePuy that the company would sell a product which performed consistent with what it’s “design history of performance” would require, and that it would be at least as good if not better than those devices already on the market when it was launched in the U.S. in 2005.  Dr. Cuckler agreed that doctors and patients had the right to both.

Mr. Kelly then discussed the “unanticipated” failure rates which ultimately led DePuy to recall the ASR.  No one from DePuy, as part of their analysis as to why the complaints and vigilance department didn’t foresee this high failure coming, went to Dr. Cuckler for assistance.  No one within DePuy asked Dr. Cuckler to help determine why their internal data did not lead to the true revision rate. Dr. Cuckler agreed that it was DePuy’s obligation from the moment that a product is put on the market in the United States until the moment it is taken off the market, to be proactive and aggressive in following up on information about complaints, revisions, and unanticipated problems.

Mr. Zellers then conducted a redirect of Dr. Cuckler.

Next, Mr. Calfo for the Defendants called to the stand Dr. Bruce Spinowitz, an internist and a nephrologist.  He testified that cobalt and chromium mostly exits the body through the kidney.  Dr. Spinoqitz discussed Mr. Kransky’s various risk factors that are believed to lead to chronic kidney disease.

Mr. John Gomez from Gomez Iagmin cross-examined Dr. Spinowitz.  Mr. Gomez questioned Dr. Spinowitz’s testimony as to the reasons why Mr. Kransky was admitted to the nursing home in late 2011.  He also asked Dr. Spinowitz if the doctor had any conversations with anyone at DePuy about the ASR device in order to reach his conclusion that the device had no impact on Mr. Kransky’s chronic kidney disease.  Dr. Spinowitz had not spoken to anyone from DePuy about the ASR device.

Mr. Gomez questioned Dr. Spinowitz’s conclusion that the ASR did not impact his chronic kidney disease, and asked if he was aware that all of the doctors who saw and treated Mr. Kransky for one reason or another recommended the hip be removed.  Dr. Kransky’s own nephrologist and internist, Dr. Shannon, recommended Mr. Kransky’s hip be removed and commented that following the revision surgery, he was doing surprisingly well.

Kransky v. DePuy Trial – Day Twenty 2/26/13

The Kransky trial continued on February 26, 2013 with the resumed testimony of the Defendants’ infectious disease expert, Dr. Ballon-Landa.  Mr. Calfo continued the direct examination and Mr. Kelly cross-examined the doctor.

On cross-examination, Mr. Kelly dissected Dr. Ballon-Landa’s testimony that Mr. Kransky’s hip was infected, which caused the pain and was the reason why it was ultimately removed.  Mr. Kelly asked the doctor if the statement “A hematoma can be infected when the hip itself is not,” was a true and accurate statement.  Dr. Ballon-Landa agreed it was.  He also admitted that Dr. Hansen in fact believed Mr. Kransky’s hematoma, not hip, was infected.

Dr. Ballon-Landa then admitted that while its extremely important to note any significant findings in medical records, none of Mr. Kransky’s medical records ever stated he had an infected prosthesis.  None of Mr. Kransky’s doctors noted that they believed his hip was infected.

Mr. Kelly then walked Dr. Ballon-Landa through the testimony of Dr. Hansen.  Dr. Hansen performed the process of differential diagnosis where the doctor looks at the patient and essentially goes through a mental checklist based on education, skill, and experience to form a medical opinion.  Dr. Ballon-Landa admitted that he believed Dr. Hansen to be both caring and competent, and that Dr. Ballon-Landa himself was never called into an operating room to assist in diagnosing an infection in hips.

Dr. Ballon-Landa also  conceded that Mr. Kransky’s portacath was more likely to become infected than his artificial hip, and that the portacath in fact never became infected.

Mr. Kelly discussed the fact that in November of 2012 there were case studies of individuals with metal hip implants and these findings stated “the clinical picture seen with metal hypersensitivity is not dissimilar to that of a hip infection.”  This means that in some patients who have had a reaction to the metals in the hip implant, such as cobalt and chromium, their reactions can mimic that of an infected hip.

Defendants next called to the stand Dr. John Cuckler, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip and knee replacement. Dr. Cuckler was involved in the design of another large head metal-on-metal device and testified that all metal devices release metal ions.  He further testified that at this time there is no data indicating adverse systemic effects from exposure to metal ions.

Dr. Cuckler also testified regarding the wear testing DePuy performed with respect to the ASR.  He believed it was reasonable and that the device itself is not defective.

Cross-examination of Dr. Cuckler by Plaintiff’s attorney is to take place tomorrow.  Closing arguments by both sides are expected to begin on Thursday.