Legal Strategy: Hiring A Fox...

...to guard the hens is risky, but it helped Sulzer Medica fend off trial lawyers

Sulzer Medica was one of those quietly successful Swiss firms that make steady money and precision products--in its case, medical implants from teeth to knees. But then Medica burst into the news in the worst way. In December it recalled 40,000 titanium hip replacements that had been tainted during manufacture with a thin film of oil--just enough to prevent some patients' bones from bonding to them. The recall forced more than 2,500 to endure a second painful operation to replace faulty implanted joints; 2,000 more are expected. Most are in the U.S., so of course the result was a 1,000-lawsuit avalanche.

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