World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Mattapan jurors push for verdicts in slay case

The Suffolk jury charged with deciding the case against two men accused in the 2010 Mattapan killings twice told a Superior Court Judge that it was deadlocked, but then voted unanimously to continue deliberating, a highly unusual decision, according to legal specialists.

The jury of four men and eight women surprised a packed courtroom late Wednesday afternoon when they told Judge Christine McEvoy that they were not done discussing the case, even though a single holdout has declined to join the majority on nine of the 19 counts against the defendants.

Veteran defense lawyers who have been following the case said the decision appears to be unprecedented.

“I have never seen that happen,” said Michael Doolin, a Dorchester defense attorney who has worked criminal cases for 27 years, two of them as a Suffolk prosecutor. “I think that it’s commendable that they care enough about the case and they care enough to come to a verdict.”

—Maria Cramer and Brian R. Ballou, The Boston Globe

Hip device phaseout followed FDA request

Johnson & Johnson executives decided in 2009 to phase out a hip implant and sell off its inventories for use in patients just weeks after the Food and Drug Administration asked the company in a letter for safety data about the implant, administration documents and corporate records show.

At the same time, the agency told the company that blood tests of some patients who got the all-metal hip showed a “high concentration of metal ions” that it found “concerning,” according to the FDA letter, obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

Officials also wrote that reports from countries where the implant was then being used showed it was performing “somewhat more poorly” than data submitted by the company’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit indicated. By mid-2009, for example, data from Australia showed that the device was failing at high rates just a few years after implantation, rather than lasting 15 years as expected.

The Food and Drug Administration’s statements were contained in a nonapprovable letter in which the agency confidentially notified DePuy in 2009 that it was turning down the company’s application to sell the device in the United States. The bulk of the letter focused on problems that agency reviewers found with study data submitted by DePuy to support its claim that the artificial hip was safe and effective.

—Barry Meier, The New York Times

Revised data show slower economic growth in Mass.

The Massachusetts economy last year grew at a significantly slower pace than originally thought, expanding at roughly the same rate as the rest of the nation, the University of Massachusetts reported Wednesday.

UMass economists now estimate the state’s economy grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in 2011, instead of the 2.9 percent first reported in UMass’s quarterly journal MassBenchmarks. The national economy, meanwhile, grew at a rate of 1.6 percent.

UMass lowered its estimate of the state’s economic growth after the Department of Labor revised its initial estimates of state job growth in 2011. The revisions, based on additional data that became available over the year, showed Massachusetts created just over 9,000 jobs — far fewer than the nearly 41,000 first reported.

Before the revisions, Massachusetts was widely viewed by local economists as enjoying a much stronger recovery than the nation as a whole. The revised data, however, paint a dramatically different picture.

—Erin Ailworth Globe Staff, The Boston Globe