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Depuy Pinnacle hip replacement problems, lawsuits & Settlements

Latest News - June 20, 2018 - Depuy Lawsuit Update: Texas DePuy Hip MDL Proceeds with Fact Sheet Exchange - Click for full story

Depuy Lawsuit Update: Texas DePuy Hip MDL Proceeds with Fact Sheet Exchange

June 20, 2018
As of summer 2018, thousands of cases involving plaintiffs accusing DePuy Orthopaedics of designing and manufacturing defective hip implants continue to make their way through federal district court in Texas as part of multidistrict litigation (MDL). With four bellwether trials now having been completed, plaintiffs in the remaining cases are in the process of providing Plaintiff Fact Sheets, per a court order issued in April 2018.

The cases involve allegations that DePuy pushed its line dangerous Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implants on unwitting patients, resulting in serious injury. DePuy is a subsidiary of consumer goods and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

As Mark Lanier, attorney for many of the plaintiffs, described to Law360 in 2017, “This is a case that’s about…people who trusted a doctor, and they trusted the product that doctor gave them, and they got a terrible result.”

In four completed bellwether trials to come out of the MDL, the first resulted in a defense verdict; the second ended with a $502 million jury verdict that later was reduced to $150 million; the third—which involved six plaintiffs—resulted in a verdict of over $1 billion, later lowered to $543 million; and the fourth ended in a $247 million verdict for the plaintiffs.

According to Law360, as of fall 2017, over 9,000 cases remain in the Texas MDL, which likely will continue to wind its way through the federal court system for years to come.

More recent Depuy Hip Trial News

Sources:
United States District Court – Northern District of Texas IN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation MDL 3:11-md-02244
Law 360 - United Fourth Bellwether Verdict
Law360 - First, Second, and Third Bellwether Verdicts

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Depuy Pinnacle Hip

The Pinnacle hip replacement is a total hip replacement system designed and manufactured by DePuy, the makers of the recalled DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip.  The design of the Pinnacle hip allows different choices of liner to place inside the outer cup (socket). The surgeon can choose between a metal liner, ceramic liner or polyethylene (plastic) liner.

The DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system, when used with a metal liner, becomes a metal-on-metal hip device similar to the DePuy ASR and other metal-on-metal designs. One of the recognized problems with the metal-on-metal hip design is that it places a metal femoral head (ball) against a metal acetabular cup (socket).  The metal surface of the hip ball grinds on the metal surface of the cup throughout the day when the patient is walking, running, or doing just about anything.  Over time, the friction between the two metal surfaces releases metal ions into the blood, bone, and surrounding tissues.  This can result in metallosis – high levels of the metals cobalt and chromium in the blood.

The company maintains that there is no defect in the design of the Pinnacle hip replacement, though DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits allege that the company is concealing defects and has misrepresented that the hip replacement is a safe and effective medical device.

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Depuy hip replacement problems

The attorneys at TheLawFirm.com believe that medical-device manufacturers like DePuy and Johnson & Johnson do not care one bit for the health of the patients who receive their devices. They are interested in only one thing: profit. And they’ll stop at nothing to rake it in, even at the cost of people’s lives.

The following are among the potential DePuy Pinnacle problems when the device is used with a metal liner:

Depuy Pinnacle Problems

• Pain in the hip and groin
• Pseudotumors
• Pinnacle hip implant failure
• Difficulty walking or standing
• Loosening of the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement
Metallosis (metal poisoning)
• Need for hip replacement (revision) surgery

Every single one of these health complications is caused by the “metal-on-metal” design of the Pinnacle device. “Metal-on-metal” means that both the rounded top of the hip joint as well as the cuplike portion of the pelvis are constructed of metal alloys. These alloys, which contain the potentially toxic metals chromium and cobalt, can shred and deteriorate when they rub against each other.

And they rub against each other every single time the hip joint moves. The Pinnacle Hip Replacement is a ticking time bomb. Sooner or later, its metal components will fail, sending tiny fragments of toxic metals loose in the bloodstream.

If you’ve suffered from any of the above conditions, or others, as a result of the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement device, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.

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Important Depuy Hip Replacement Questions

The attorneys at TheLawFirm.com represent many individuals with defective metal on metal hip implants. In addition, we have reviewed thousands of medical records and have spoken to many prospective clients and orthopedic surgeons. We have learned that some surgeons are aggressive in their treatment and quickly recommend revision surgery. Others are more guarded and rely on blood tests, X-RAYS and physical examinations to monitor the patient. The doctors may be looking for the levels of cobalt and/or chromium, but we are concerned that many doctors do not fully understand the toxicity of these metals.

questions every metal on metal hip patient should ask their doctor.

• What types of tests do you recommend to make sure that metal ions from my metal hip are not causing tissue damage? If you discover tissue damage, what are common complications that can arise?

• Should I be getting blood tests to determine the amount of cobalt and chromium in my blood?  What are the health risks associated with cobalt and chromium?

• How much cobalt and chromium in my blood is too much?  At what point should I be worried about any long term health issues such as cancer, thyroid disorders or heart issues?

• Are there any studies on the health impacts of having high levels of chromium and/or cobalt?

• What do you look for before recommending revision surgery?

• What is the revision rate for my specific metal on metal hip?

• If you think my metal hip is likely to fail in the future, is there any reason to wait until the metal ions have caused damage to my hip before having surgery?

• If you don’t currently recommend revision surgery, how often should I get my blood tested for cobalt and chromium?

• If you don’t currently recommend revision surgery, should I be getting MRIs performed on a regular basis? 

• If you recommend revision surgery, what are the risks of having the surgery?

• What does revision surgery entail?  Will you be removing all of the hardware?

• How many revision surgeries have you personally performed where the stem had to be removed?

• What is your complication rate with these surgeries?

• After the surgery will the physical therapy or rehabilitation differ from my first operation?

• If you put a new hip in me, what is the track record on the new hip?

As we believe to always be the case, education is key. There is no reason to be a guinea pig for Big Pharma. Ask questions! Research the device or drug before you agree to it. Who makes it? How long has it been on the market? What is the reputation of the manufacturer? There are many ways to minimize the risk. If you have found yourself injured by a defective medical device or bad drug, the attorneys at TheLawFirm.com stand ready.

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Billions of dollars in product liability settlements

metal hip device

DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have a lousy track record when defending the Pinnacle Hip Replacement – which should come as no surprise. Even the best corporate lawyers aren’t going to be able to convince a jury that DePuy and Johnson & Johnson aren’t liable for the damages caused by a device this badly designed and this dangerous.

Though DePuy did win its first trial, the company has gone 0-2 since then. In March 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas awarded $497 million in damages to a group of five patients whose metal-on-metal Pinnacle Hip Replacements had failed catastrophically. Another court later reduced the award, but Johnson & Johnson is still on the hook for tens of millions of dollars.

Also in 2016, another Texas jury ruled that DePuy and Johnson & Johnson were liable for $1.04 billion in a case concerning the Pinnacle Hip Replacement. The court found the two corporations guilty of negligent design, of failing to warn surgeons and patients about the risks inherent in the device, and of concealing those risks. Though this enormous settlement, too, was later trimmed by a judge, its size suggests that juries understand the severity of the dangers of the Pinnacle Hip Replacement.

Lawsuit after lawsuit

In trial after trial, the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement has been shown to be one of the most defective and dangerous medical devices on the market. It has failed so many times and caused so much damage that it’s incredible to believe that it ever received FDA approval.

Plaintiffs like you have won numerous cases against DePuy and its parent company Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs like you stand to win a great deal more from these deep-pocketed, deeply unethical medical corporations.

TheLawFirm.com wants to help you find justice and fair compensation.

If you’ve had surgery to implant a DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement, you may be a looking at a substantial financial award. Contact TheLawFirm.com to learn how we can help you get it.

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Johnson & Johnson Depuy Ordered To Pay $1.04 Billion Verdict - December 2017

Depuy ASR Overview

depuy logo

Depuy asr hip Recall

Here is a list of the countries in which DePuy the corporation that manufactures the ASR Hip Replacement, has recalled its device:

Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States

That’s 15 countries, some of which have notoriously lax standards for product liability. Yet, even in countries that offer fewer consumer protections to their citizens, DePuy recalled its ASR Hip Replacement device.

That’s because the DePuy ASR Hip Replacement is a clear and present danger.

Most of those recalls – which DePuy insists were “voluntary” – took place around 2010. That was when it became clear that the ASR Hip Replacement was failing at very high rates, even in people whose hip replacement surgery had taken place less than five years earlier.

That’s a remarkably high and remarkably serious failure rate. We expect even high-use, semi-durable goods – t-shirts, shower caddies, spatulas – to last well more than five years. Hip replacements are supposed to be permanent.

ASR Hip Replacement Complications

So what happened with the DePuy ASR Hip Replacement device?

What happened was bad design and bad construction.

The toxic metal fragments that the ASR releases into the bloodstream can cause a wide range of medical problems, including but not limited to:

Depuy ASR Problems

• pain
• inflammation
• infection
• swelling
• reduced mobility
• a toxic condition called metallosis
In the worst cases, the fragments of toxic metals in the bloodstream can cause tissue death, neurological damage, and even blindness.
• tissue death
• neurological damage
• blindness

The ASR is a metal-on-metal device. Both the ball and the socket of the device are made of a cobalt-and-chromium alloy. Every time you move your leg, these two metal components rub against each other, releasing tiny fragments of toxic heavy metals into your bloodstream.

The failure of an ASR Hip Replacement device can create a need for additional surgeries. And no surgery is risk-free.

Depuy asr manufacturer negligence

The worst part of the ASR Hip Replacement case is that DePuy, the device’s maker, knew all along that the ASR posed serious, even fatal, health risks.

DePuy has lost numerous hip replacement lawsuits, to the tune of nearly $2 billion

But they manufactured and sold it anyway. Why? Because there’s a lot of money to be made in selling hip replacement devices, patients’ health be damned. This is negligence, pure and simple, and it has put people’s lives in danger.

We think it’s time that patients get that money back – and then some.

The attorneys at TheLawFirm.com believe that if your health has suffered as a result of a DePuy ASR Hip Replacement, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. If your health has been compromised by the DePuy ASR or DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement device, let the expert attorneys of TheLawFirm.com help you seek justice and fair compensation.

We will work tirelessly to advocate for your health.

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Depuy Hip Trial News

• June 13, 2018

Depuy Lawsuit Update: Commentators Call for Clarification of Expert Compensation Rules after DePuy Ruling

Following a Fifth Circuit ruling that reversed a plaintiff’s victory against DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. on the basis of the plaintiff’s failure to disclosure that expert witnesses were being compensated for their testimony, legal commentators are calling for clarification of the legal standards involving such disclosures.

As Ekaterina Long wrote for Law360 on June 12, 2018, “Given that we live in a free market society in which people could reasonably expect to be compensated for providing their professional services, it is certainly a reasonable assumption that a nonretained expert witness would be compensated in some fashion for providing testimony. However, this is an assumption that apparently does not go without saying, and an express provision regarding the disclosure of a nonretained expert's compensation should be in place.”

The Fifth Circuit decision involved a case in which the plaintiff claimed to have suffered injuries as a result of a defective hip implant designed by DePuy. During the trial, attorneys for the defense moved for release of judgment on the basis that an attorney for the plaintiff had implied that two of its expert witnesses were uncompensated, when this may not have been the case.

Attorneys for plaintiff made a $10,000 donation to the high school alma mater of one of the expert witnesses just weeks before trial. The other expert witness in question stated in a deposition that he expected to be compensated. Both witnesses did in fact receive payments from the plaintiffs’ attorneys following the jury verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.

The trial court denied the defense’s motion, pointing out that there was no evidence of an agreement for compensation at the time of trial. However, the Fifth Circuit disagreed, finding that the trial court had erred in its application of the relevant legal rule.

Would the jury have decided differently if it had known that expert witnesses for the plaintiff were being compensated for their testimony? Of course, such a hypothetical can never be answered. But, to avoid such situations in the future, legal commentators like Long are calling for a clarification of the disclosure standard.

As Long writes, “Incorporating a simple requirement to more completely disclose expert witness compensation…would significantly lessen the need to focus on attorney conduct, and place that focus squarely on the merits of each case.”

Sources:
Law360

• May 31, 2018

Depuy Lawsuit Update: Dozens of Cases Still Pending In Consolidated NJ Depuy Hip Lawsuits

Despite Depuy Orthopaedics, a unit of consumer-goods and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, having voluntarily recalled its ASRT hip implants in August 2010, according to an update released by the New Jersey Courts website on May 29, 2018, dozens of consolidated lawsuits remain ongoing in centralized proceedings being overseen by Judge Rachelle L. Harz of Bergen County.

The 2010 recall was prompted by data indicating that five years after surgery, 13% of patients who had received DePuy ASRT hip implants required revision surgery involving an additional hip replacement. The Bergen County lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients claiming harms caused as a result of these allegedly defective devices.

In July 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court approved consolidation of the lawsuits as multicounty litigation. According to the May 29 case list, 53 suits presently still are ongoing, with filing dates ranging from as far back as April 2011 to as recently as January 2018.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective medical device, the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are standing by, ready to provide you with a free legal consultation from an actual attorney. The law places strict time limits on your ability to file a claim, so contact us today!

Sources:
New Jersey Courts Website DePuy ASR Hip Implant Litigation – Main Page
DePuy Hip Implant Case List

• May 2, 2018

Depuy Lawsuit Update: Johnson and Johnson Still Faces Uphill Battle in DePuy Hip Implant Retrial

Despite achieving an apparent win in late April when the Fifth Circuit overturned a $502 million jury verdict in a bellwether trial over allegedly faulty hip implants, experts warn that DePuy and parent company Johnson & Johnson face an uphill battle in the new trial, potentially making for a short-lived victory.

The federal appellate court ordered the new trial based on its findings that Mark Lanier, an attorney for the plaintiffs, had misrepresented expert witnesses as unpaid volunteers when, in fact, they did receive compensation from the plaintiffs’ legal team.

According to analysis by Emily Field of Law360, while DePuy and Johnson & Johnson may have succeeded in forcing a new trial, the appellate panel actually found against the companies on a number of issues that will be of central importance before the lower court. Most importantly, the appellate panel refused to find that the plaintiffs’ design defect claims were preempted by federal law, as attorneys for Johnson & Johnson had urged.

For many, including Lanier—the attorney whose conduct specifically was faulted by the appellate panel—the Fifth Circuit decision represents something of a best-case worst-case scenario for the hip-implant patients.

“If the court was looking for an excuse to reverse the verdict and they found it in their interpretation of my behavior – in terms of my clients, that’s the best-case scenario,” he said, according to Law360.

Attorney Max Kennerly of Kennerly Loutey LLC agreed. “It is embarrassing, and certainly as a lawyer you wouldn’t want to have this written about you nor to have your verdict vacated,” he told Law360. “But the irony of the decision is that it’s the most beneficial loss the plaintiffs could have possibly suffered, considering how many of J&J’s arguments were rejected.”

The case is the third of four bellwether trials in multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving Pinnacle hip prosthetics designed and manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., a unit of consumer-goods and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

More recent Depuy Hip Trial News

Sources:
Law360

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• April 29, 2018

Depuy Lawsuit Update: 5th Circuit Overturns $502 Million Hip Implant Verdict

Following revelations that the lead attorney for the plaintiff had misled jurors as to whether expert witnesses were being compensated for their testimony, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on April 27 tossed out the jury’s $502 million verdict and remanded the case back to the lower court for retrial. The case arises from the plaintiff’s allegations that Johnson & Johnson unit DePuy Orthopedics Inc. manufactured and sold defective hip implant devices, which resulted in serious harm to the plaintiff.

In directing that the case be retried at the trial court level, the appellate court decision cited additional problems with the lower court’s evidentiary decisions, including admitting highly prejudicial evidence suggesting that a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary allegedly had paid bribes to the regime of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

During the original trial, Mark Lanier—lead attorney for the plaintiff—made multiple statements before the jury indicating that the plaintiff’s expert witnesses were unpaid volunteers acting solely altruistically and out of medical concern for the plaintiff. However, after the trial, Johnson & Johnson discovered that two orthopedic surgeons testifying on behalf of the defense had indeed received compensation from the plaintiff’s legal team. Dr. Bernard Morrey Sr. received $35,000 following the trial, while Dr. Bernard Morrey Jr. received $30,000, also after the conclusion of the trial. In addition, prior to the trial, Lanier donated $10,000 to a charity of Morrey Sr.’s choice.

The appellate court did not equivocate in condemning Lanier, declaring in its decision: “Let us speak plainly: Lawyers cannot engage with a favorable expert, pay him ‘for his time,’ then invite him to testify as a purportedly ‘nonretained’ neutral party. That is deception plain and simple. And to follow that up with a post-trial ‘thank you’ check merely compounds the professional indiscretion.”

The reversal of the $502 million verdict is particularly significant because the case is the second of four bellwether trials in multidistrict litigation (MDL) over DePuy’s Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implants, the outcome of which will set important precedent for the cases that follow.

This is yet another striking example of how one’s choice of attorney can literally mean the difference between winning a case or losing it. If you or a loved one has received a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant and have suffered serious complications as a result, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free consultation.

Sources:
Law360

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• April 16, 2018

Depuy Hip Lawsuit: Supreme Court Rejects Review Of Depuy Whistleblower Case

On April 16, the United States Supreme Court rejected an opportunity to review a controversial First Circuit decision regarding the False Claims Act (FCA). Specifically, the case involves allegations that Johnson & Johnson and its unit DePuy Orthopaedics engaged in the practice of selling to doctors hip-replacement devices the companies knew or should have known to be defective, with the doctors in turn billing Medicare for the cost of the devices.

In their defense, the companies have argued that the claims should be tossed out for lack of “particularity”, a legal term of art described in Rule 9(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence. According to the companies, the whistleblowers’ claims are insufficient because they fail to identify a single actual instance of a false claim, instead relying on statistical models that show false claims must have occurred.

In its petition to the US Supreme Court, Johnson & Johnson argued that lawsuits brought under the FCA need to “do far more than suggest that a product defect makes it statistically likely that someone, somewhere, at some point, submitted a false claim.” In urging the Supreme Court to take up the case, attorneys for the companies also asserted that there is a conflict among the circuits on this point, necessitating a Supreme Court ruling to settle the matter once and for all.

In their response to the companies’ Supreme Court petition, attorneys for the whistleblowers contended that no such split exists among the circuits, arguing “every circuit recognizes there are circumstances in which an FCA relator can satisfy Rule 9(b) without pleading a representative claim.”

In its decision, the First Circuit disagreed with the companies’ position, finding it sufficient for “particularity” under the FCA that the whistleblowers’ allegations, if proven true, would render it “statistically certain” that false claims were submitted.

The case arises from the actions of whistleblowers of Antoni Nargol and David Langton, both of whom are surgeons with professional knowledge of DePuy hip devices. The whistleblower doctors allege that DePuy sold its defective hip-replacement devices to medical professionals who were unaware of the full extent of the risks associated with such devices, thereby inducing these professionals to purchase the devices for their patients and to submit claims to MediCare for the devices’ cost. Because of the products’ defects, the whistleblowers argue, the associated MediCare claims were fraudulent under the FCA.

Of Johnson & Johnson’s proclivity for waging these battles through the courts, an attorney for the whistleblowers said, according to Law360, “This is becoming a habit for J&J. They need to stop using courts to evade responsibility and own up to what they’ve done.”

If you or a loved one has received a hip implant manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation!

Sources:
Law360

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• March 8, 2018

New Plaintiffs Continue To Join Texas MDL Over Depuy Hip Implants

March 8, 2018
In a sign that multidistrict litigation (MDL) over hip implants manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics continues to grow, a new plaintiff has added her case to the thousands currently making their way through Texas federal court alleging serious injuries caused by the medical devices. The lawsuit, filed February 13, claims that the plaintiff received a Pinnacle hip implant in 2007 only to suffer a range of side effects beginning soon thereafter.

In a separate development, on February 5, plaintiffs in the MDL filed a request with U.S. District Court Judge Ed Kinkeade asking that he remand their cases to state court using an approach that would have plaintiffs and defendants selecting a total of 30 cases each to be heard before federal courts in California, New York, and Texas. Under the plaintiffs’ proposal, the 60 cases would be slated to begin in 2019.

The Texas MDL continues to proceed in the wake of a landmark November 2017 bellwether-trial verdict in which a jury awarded five recipients of Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implants $502 million dollars, later reduced to $150 million. (An appeal as to whether this reduction was proper presently is pending before the Fifth Circuit and was named one of Law360’s Product Liability Cases to Watch in 2018, largely for its implications for the remainder of the cases in the MDL.)

DePuy Orthopaedics is a subsidiary of corporate behemoth Johnson & Johnson. It currently faces nearly 10,000 lawsuits over its line of Pinnacle Ultamet hip implant devices.

If you or a loved one were the recipient of a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant and you suffered harm as a result of this defective product, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com now for a free consultation. If you meet certain criteria, you may qualify for compensation, so contact TheLawFirm.com today!

Sources:
United States District Court Northern District of TexasIN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability LitigationMDL 3:11-md-02244

Law360

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• February 27, 2018

Plaintiffs ask judge to remand cases to the original court for individual trial dates.

About 60 Plaintiffs have asked U.S. District Court Judge Ed Kinkeade, the Judge responsible for thousands of hip implant lawsuits in the DePuy Orthopaedics’ Pinnacle Hip MDL, to remand their cases to the original court for individual trial dates.

The February 5th 2018 motion requests the Court begin an “orderly and efficient staggered remand process,” where plaintiffs and the defense would select 10 cases each for remand to federal courts in California, New York and Texas. These trials would start in 2019, a fact disappointing to TheLawFirm.com, as these cases have been going on for far too long already.

About 9500 cases remain outstanding against DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs allege that the metal-on-metal hip design causes dangerous amounts of toxic metal debris to be released into the joint surround the hip, and into the blood stream resulting in metallosis. This can cause pseudotumor formation and other complications that necessitate the need for revision surgery to replace the hip implant.

The Pinnacle hip litigation has had four bellwether trials. The defense has won one trial and the plaintiffs have won three.

In March 2016, plaintiffs were awarded a verdict of $500 million. However, Judge Kinkeade ultimately reduced the award to $151 million, based on a Texas statute that limits punitive damages. Oral argument has been heard on this appeal. A main basis for the appeal was that the wrong company was sued.

The third bellwether trial ended in December 2016, with a billion dollar verdict. Even though California does not have a limit on punitive damages, the judge reduced the award to $543 million, based on a US Supreme Court ruling limiting excessive punitive damages.

The fourth bellwether trial resulted in the plaintiff being awarded $247 million in November 2017.

Despite these wins, Johnson and Johnson shows no sign of wanting to settle. Appeals and delays are common legal tools used. We have to wonder when they will come to their senses on Pinnacle, as they are facing legal troubles for various other medical devices and pharmaceutical products, including Risperdal, Ethicon TVM, Talcum Powder, Xarelto and opiates.

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• November 16, 2017

Jury Awards $247 Million Verdict In Fourth Bellweather Depuy Hip Trial

November 16, 2017
A Texas federal jury has awarded a $247 million verdict in the fourth bellwether trial against Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. This is the third major verdict against the maker of the metal on metal hips.

The unanimous jury found that Johnson and Johnson and DePuy were liable for a series of design and manufacturing defects, fraud and deceptive business practices. They also found that the companies had acted with wanton, reckless or malicious conduct. They awarded $90 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson and $78 million in punitive damages against DePuy.

The jury specifically found Johnson and Johnson and DePuy liable for design defect, negligent design, inadequate warning, manufacturing defect, negligent manufacture, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation to the surgeons who performed the initial hip implant surgeries on the plaintiffs, fraudulent concealment from the plaintiffs and from the surgeons and deceptive business practices as to the plaintiffs and the surgeons. The jury also found Johnson and Johnson liable for negligent undertaking of a duty to provide services to DePuy and for aiding and abetting DePuy in its tortious conduct.

For the six individual plaintiffs the jury awarded more than $77 million in past and future medical expenses and pain and suffering, including each plaintiffs’ actual past medical expenses. Four of the plaintiffs’ spouses were awarded loss of consortium damages totaling $1.7 million.

Johnson & Johnson is almost certain to appeal the verdict on the grounds that the Court had no jurisdiction. However, Judge Ed Kinkeade excluded from evidence a number of documents and emails that Johnson & Johnson argued shouldn't have been admitted in previous bellwether trials. This is important because it means the jury evaluated Johnson & Johnson’s best possible defense and found it so lacking that they still awarded nearly a quarter-billion dollars in damages.

The verdict followed a two-month trial, the fourth trial in multidistrict litigation that includes more than 9,000 cases alleging design defects in DePuy’s Pinnacle Ultamet line of metal-on-metal hip implants. In 2016, Texas juries found in favor of two groups of plaintiffs from Texas and California, awarding them $502 million and more than $1 billion in damages. These verdicts were later reduced to $150 million and $543 million.

Although Johnson and Johnson has already said they will appeal, the attorneys at TheLawFirm.com hope that they begin to settle these cases. If they don’t become more reasonable, it is time for Judge Kinkeade to remand these cases for trial.
More Depuy Trial Updates

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• November 14, 2017

johnson & johnson logo

Johnson & Johnson Petitions for Stay in Defective Hip Device lawSuit

A Texas federal judge has refused to allow jurors in the fourth bellwether hip implant liability trial to hear testimony related to alleged witness tampering. These allegations arose from communications between a lawyer for Johnson and Johnson and a company sales representative.

This decision came a day before the much awaited closing argument in the trial in which six plaintiffs who had Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implants allege Johnson & Johnson made a defective product and failed to adequately warn of its risks.

For the past month, the FBI has have been investigating allegations that a DePuy sales representative “tainted” a witness just days before he was set to testify.

The representative testified he told the witness that lawyers for DePuy were on him "like crazy,” put “big-time pressure” on him, had “peppered” him and that he was concerned the witness’s testimony in the trial could lead to ramifications for the doctor's practice.

This testimony was contrary to another description he gave regarding the conversations with Johnson & Johnson lawyers.

Lawyers for Johnson & Johnson expressed pleasure with the ruling, calling the witness tampering allegations “overblown”.

The attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are pleased that this issue is behind us. If Johnson & Johnson loses this trial, it would have given them an issue to appeal. The evidence did not appear to support the allegations going to the jury and the Judge made the right call. With thousands of victims waiting for compensation, it is hoped that the results of this 4th trial will finally bring Johnson and Johnson to the table.

• November 2, 2017

Plaintiffs Claim Witness Tampering In Depuy Hip Trial

The fourth bellwether trial involving allegations Johnson & Johnson and DePuy made and marketed a defective metal-on-metal hip implant, known as the Pinnacle Ultamet, is underway in Texas. However, about a month into the trial the Plaintiffs raised an allegation of witness tampering. Johnson & Johnson claims that the accusations have been “overblown” by plaintiffs’ counsel. In a highly unusual move, the Judge referred the accusations to law enforcement.

Johnson & Johnson and DePuy said the evidence obtained to date shows there’s no need to derail the ongoing civil trial while the U.S. attorney’s office continues with the criminal investigation.

The companies said their lawyers had merely made a few phone calls to schedule a “routine, legal and legitimate” conversation with an employee of their client who might have knowledge pertinent to the litigation.

The Plaintiffs say that a doctor who treated three of the six plaintiffs was “tainted” by an in-person conversation with a DePuy sales representative who expressed concern about the doctor coming to testify, purportedly after DePuy lawyers “pressured” the sales representative in a series of phone calls.

The stakes involved are enormous. Over 9000 cases remain in the MDL. Johnson & Johnson has so far refused to resolve the cases. If another verdict comes in for hundreds of millions, or even billions of dollars, it is hoped that these cases will move towards appropriate settlement.

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• October 30, 2017

Fourth Johnson & Johnson Depuy Orthopaedics Lawsuit Underway

The fourth bellwether trial for Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Depuy Orthopaedics is underway in Texas. More than 9100 cases remain in the MDL. Questions have arisen about the value of this trial, given the procedural history of the matter.

Less than a week before the fourth bellwether was set to begin, a Fifth Circuit panel ruled that U.S. District Judge Kinkeade, who oversees the MDL, reached a “patently erroneous” result and clearly abused his discretion by holding that Johnson & Johnson and DePuy had waived their right to object to his court in Texas. In a MDL, there has to be consent to a trial going forth in the jurisdiction in charge of the MDL. The Plaintiffs assert that the defense gave such consent.

The panel requested — but did not mandate — Judge Kinkeade cancel the upcoming trial.

The plaintiffs sought rehearing en banc from the Fifth Circuit, but the panel denied the motion.

Given this ruling by the Fifth Circuit, a question arises about the value of this trial. Johnson and Johnson has made it clear that the trial proceeding is reversible error and will therefore do nothing to advance the ultimate resolution of the litigation.

Any legal issues aside (and it clear that a Plaintiff’s victory will be instantly appealed), bellwether trials have enormous value in our opinion. This trial is a chance for Johnson & Johnson to present their best evidence about the safety of metal on metal hips, and the Depuy in particular. Conversely, the Plaintiffs will present their best evidence as to why these products are defective and dangerous.

The jury will make a ruling about the safety of this product. If Johnson & Johnson loses, regardless of any appellate issues, it will mean that a jury decided their best defense on the merits. A win by the Plaintiffs will embolden the vigorous prosecution of the almost 10,000 claims currently in file in Federal Court.

TheLawFirm.com will update when the jury reaches a verdict

• October 6, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Loses Bid For Stay In Appealing Faulty Hip Device Case

Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics have lost their bid to have the First Circuit Court stay a decision over their allegedly defective hip replacement devices under the terms of the False Claims Act.

Antoni Nargol and David Langton, two consumer-advocate whistleblowers, have alleged that DePuy’s metal-on-metal hip replacement devices are dangerously faulty, yet the company nevertheless made direct claims for the device to federal and state healthcare agencies. Those false claims, the suit alleges, thereby indirectly caused physicians themselves to make false claims to the government. The suit had been tossed last year but was revived in July.

Johnson & Johnson and DePuy had hoped to delay the court’s decision as they prepare to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but that motion was formally denied.

The metal-on-metal construction of many hip replacement devices – including several manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and DePuy – has been implicated in a number of serious health problems. Tiny fragments of metal can be released by the movement of the artificial hip joints, and those fragments can then enter the bloodstream, causing infection, inflammation, organ damage, and, in some cases, death.

The case will now move on to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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• October 2, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Loses Petitions For Stay In Defective Hip Device Lawsuit

Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics have petitioned the First Circuit Court to stay its decision in a case involving the companies’ allegedly defective hip replacement devices. The suit has been filed under the False Claims Act, and concerns claims that the metal-on-metal construction of the companies’ hip replacement devices poses serious medical hazards.

The companies seek a 90-day stay as they prepare their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The grounds on which they have requested the delay are that, they allege, circuit courts have varying standards for issuing rulings in False Claims Act cases.

Earlier this week, the First Circuit Court denied the companies’ petition for a rehearing, thereby permitting whistleblowers Antoni Nargol and David Langton to submit, as intended, their claims that the two companies indirectly caused physicians to submit false claims to the government.

The crux of Nargol’s and Langton’s argument is that the metal-on-metal construction of the companies’ various hip replacement devices constitutes a manufacturing defect, yet their manufacturers nevertheless made direct claims for the device to federal and state government agencies, thereby indirectly causing healthcare providers to submit false claims. The suit had been tossed last year, but was revived in July by a panel of the First Circuit Court.

In metal-on-metal hip devices, metal parts can grind against other parts, thereby potentially releasing particles of cobalt and/or chromium – two toxic metals – into the bloodstream. Those fragments of metal can cause a toxic condition called metallosis, which can damage organs and can even cause death.

• October 2, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Depuy Hip Must Face New Trial

An Illinois plaintiff who filed suit against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics over the company’s alleged negligence in selling defective hip replacement devices has been granted a new trial against DePuy when a judge ruled that expert testimony had been unfairly barred from a previous trial.

Carol Strum has been granted a new trial some four years after the jury in a previous trial had ruled in favor of DePuy. In the initial trial, testimony on behalf of Strum that was to have been given by orthopedic surgeon and Newcastle University research fellow David Langton had been barred. Langton’s expertise is in the field of metal-on-metal orthopedic implants.

The metal-on-metal construction of many hip replacement devices – including the DePuy Articular Surface Replacement XL that Strum had had surgically implanted – has been implicated in a wide variety and health and medical problems. Metal parts of such devices grind against each other, and can thus create small metal particulates that can enter the bloodstream to cause infection, organ damage, and, in the most serious cases, death. All such conditions are related to a toxic state called metallosis.

Strum’s suit claims that DePuy failed to warn patients and doctors of their device’s risks, even though the company was aware of them. She also claims DePuy was negligent in designing a device that was prone to failure.

Langton’s testimony had been excluded, in part, because DePuy’s witnesses disputed it, claiming that Langton’s methodology was not generally accepted by the scientific community. Yet, in the recent decision, judge Mary Dooling ruled that the testimony had been inappropriately barred, thus clearing the way for a new trial for Strum.

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• October 1, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Fails To Escape False Claim Accusations In Hip Device Suit

Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics have lost another bid to escape the accusations that they indirectly submitted false claims to the government concerning their hip replacement devices.

The companies had attempted to get the courts to dismiss false-claim allegations by whistleblowers Antoni Nargol and David Langton. Those allegations state that, though the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement device has a manufacturing defect owing to its metal-on-metal construction, the company made direct and false claims to state and federal government agencies that had the effect of indirectly causing healthcare providers to pass along those false claims to insurers.

The companies had argued that Nargol and Langton had failed to abide by certain technical standards of making allegations of false claims, but the courts refuted this argument.

The suit may now proceed as the plaintiffs originally planned it.

• September 23, 2017

Plaintiff Granted New Trial in Hip Replacement Suit against DePuy

The Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois has granted a plaintiff a new trial in her case against DePuy Orthopaedics about the company’s allegedly negligent behavior concerning one of its hip replacement devices. The new trial was granted on the grounds that the testimony of a joint replacement researcher had been unfairly barred from the plaintiff’s previous trial.

Four years ago, Carol Strum lost her case against DePuy – a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson – which she had filed as part of a consolidated DePuy hip replacement litigation. Strum’s hip replacement device, along with many other models, has been linked with severe health problems that are allegedly caused by the devices’ moving metal parts grinding against each other and releasing tiny metal fragments into the bloodstream.

Upon losing the first trial, Strum immediately filed for a new trial on the grounds that the testimony of Dr. David J. Langton, a specialist in the health risks of so-called metal-on-metal implants, was prevented from being used in the initial trial.

The recent ruling held that the court erred four years ago in barring Dr. Langton’s expert opinion, in large part because some of DePuy’s witnesses took issue with his testimony.

In 2008, Strum received an operation to implant a DePuy Articular Surface Replacement XL hip replacement device. Two years later, the product was recalled, and Strum filed suit, claiming that DePuy was negligent in designing and selling a product that was prone to failure and that caused excessive wear of the hip replacement. Strum also alleged that DePuy was negligent in failing to adequately warn consumers of the dangers of the device.

Metal-on-metal hip replacement devices have been linked with a condition called metallosis, a kind of metal toxicity that can cause pain, inflammation, organ trauma, and that often necessitates additional, corrective surgeries.

The case is now due to proceed in Illinois court.

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• September 21, 2017

New Bellwether Trial over Johnson & Johnson Hip Replacements Begins

The fourth bellwether trial in a 9100-plaintiff Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case over Johnson & Johnson’s allegedly neglectful conduct in designing, marketing, and selling allegedly defective metal-on-metal hip replacement devices has gotten underway in a Dallas courtroom.

Six plaintiffs will face one of the world’s largest manufacturers of medical devices in a trial that could have sweeping implications for the company. At issue in the trial is whether the Pinnacle Ultamet hip replacement – which is manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson – was defectively designed, poorly manufactured, and/or misleadingly marketed. DePuy and J&J also stand accused of neglect in failing to adequately warn consumers of the dangers of the Pinnacle Ultamet.

The metal-on-metal design of the device is allegedly to blame for the health problems suffered by the plaintiffs. The metal-on-metal design has been linked –in the Ultamet as well as in a wide range of other hip replacement products – to a dangerous condition called metallosis, a type of metal poisoning that can cause severe infection and organ failure.

In the previous bellwether trials in the Ultamet MDL, the companies successfully defended themselves in one trial but were ordered to pay out massive verdicts in the other two. One $502 million verdict was later trimmed to $150 million; another $1 billion verdict was trimmed to $543 million. DePuy is appealing those decisions.

Opening arguments from the plaintiffs focused on the companies’ alleged pattern of neglect and irresponsible manufacture of a delicate device, while the defendants’ opening arguments focused on the notion that all medical devices eventually wear down.

With so much money potentially on the line, and thousands of plaintiffs waiting on the outcome, the Texas bellwether trial will be watched very closely.

• September 13, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Urge Court To Reconsider Hip Lawsuit Revival

Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, which manufactures many of the most prominent and allegedly defect-riddled hip replacement devices, have urged a panel of the First Circuit Court to reconsider its partial revival of a suit that alleges that the companies submitted to the government false claims for faulty hip replacement products.

The companies made the request on the grounds that, according to the companies, the plaintiffs who filed the charges of misconduct in the original 2014 suit have not provided evidence of any specific false claims. The companies stated that granting a trial on an allegedly thin basis such as this would open the doors to a host of lawsuits that, in the companies’ opinions, would be flimsy.

The plaintiffs in the original suit alleged that the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement device, which is notable for having the metal-on-metal construction that has been the source of many allegations of health complications, possessed a manufacturing defect, yet, the suit alleges, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy nevertheless submitted direct claims for the device to federal and state government agencies, an action that indirectly encouraged health care providers to submit false claims for the devices.

The suit was dismissed last year, but the First Circuit Court revived the portion of the suit concerning the indirect false claims submitted by health care providers.

DePuy and its parent company continue to insist that the plaintiffs have not submitted evidence of the alleged indirect false claims under current legal precedent.

The complex case is proceeding in New York.

If you’ve been injured by a defective metal-on-metal hip replacement device such as the DePuy Pinnacle, you may wish to file a lawsuit or join an existing suit against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson.

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• September 5, 2017

Did Judge Error In Depuy Hip Trial?

Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, which manufactures many of the most prominent and allegedly defect-riddled hip replacement devices, have urged a panel of the First Circuit Court to reconsider its partial revival of a suit that alleges that the companies submitted to the government false claims for faulty hip replacement products.

The companies made the request on the grounds that, according to the companies, the plaintiffs who filed the charges of misconduct in the original 2014 suit have not provided evidence of any specific false claims. The companies stated that granting a trial on an allegedly thin basis such as this would open the doors to a host of lawsuits that, in the companies’ opinions, would be flimsy.

The plaintiffs in the original suit alleged that the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement device, which is notable for having the metal-on-metal construction that has been the source of many allegations of health complications, possessed a manufacturing defect, yet, the suit alleges, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy nevertheless submitted direct claims for the device to federal and state government agencies, an action that indirectly encouraged health care providers to submit false claims for the devices.

The suit was dismissed last year, but the First Circuit Court revived the portion of the suit concerning the indirect false claims submitted by health care providers.

DePuy and its parent company continue to insist that the plaintiffs have not submitted evidence of the alleged indirect false claims under current legal precedent.

The complex case is proceeding in New York.

If you’ve been injured by a defective metal-on-metal hip replacement device such as the DePuy Pinnacle, you may wish to file a lawsuit or join an existing suit against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson.

• August 7, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Denies Liability In Pinnacle Hip Lawsuits

As the fourth bellwether trial over its Pinnacle Ultramet line of hip implants commences, Johnson & Johnson told a federal judge in Texas that it is not liable for any of the products manufactured by its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics.

At issue in the closely watched case is whether the Ultamet hip replacement devices, with their metal-on-metal construction, are prone to releasing potentially hazardous fine metal particles in the bloodstreams of people in whom the devices have been surgically implanted.

Though DePuy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, the parent company claims that it cannot be held legally responsible for any allegedly dangerously defective DePuy products.

Johnson & Johnson made an identical motion in one of the earlier bellwether trials in the Ultamet case. It was denied.

J&J has won one of the previous bellwether trials, and, in the others, has been ordered to pay nearly $700 million. The company has appealed those verdicts.

The trial is set to begin in Texas on September 5.

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• January 12, 2017

Depuy Appeals Court Findings

The Plaintiffs in the most recent victory against DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. have asked the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals to consolidate their appeals. Depuy is appealing the finding that the company knowingly sold a defective hip replacement. The Plaintiffs successfully argued to the jury that Pinnacle hip implants had several design flaws, that Dupuy failed to provide adequate warnings for the device, failed to properly test it before putting it on the market and other wise prioritized sales over product safety.

The Plaintiffs are citing the Federal Rules of Appeal that allow appeals to be joined. These Plaintiffs point out the cases have the same MDL, defendants, lawyers, plaintiff injuries, evidence and witnesses.

Lawsuit Verdicts and settlements

courtroom jury box

Johnson & Johnson Depuy Ordered To Pay $1.04 Billion

December 15, 2017
A jury ruled against Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit and awarded a verdict of $1.04 billion. The jury found that J&J and DePuy had negligently designed the hip implant, failed to warn surgeons about dangerous conditions related to the implant, and concealed its risks. However, US District Judge Ed Kinkeade in Texas has ruled that punitive damages cannot be more than 10 times a plaintiff’s actual damages and has reduced the verdict in half.

The jury had awarded $168 million in punitive damages to each of six plaintiffs. In halving the $1 billion total verdict, the judge cited the US Supreme Court ruling in State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, saying that “[F]ew awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages, to a significant degree, will satisfy due process.”

The judge did not disturb $4 million and $6 million in compensatory damage awards.

Both sides have said they would appeal.

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Johnson & Johnson Ordered to pay more than $1 billion to 6 plaintiffs in Depuy Pinnacle Hip Lawsuit

December 1, 2016
On December 1, 2016, a Federal jury in Dallas Texas ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit to pay more than $1 billion to six plaintiffs who were injured by Pinnacle hip implants. The total verdict of $1.041 billion included $32 million in compensatory damages. The rest were punitive damages. Punitive damages mean that the jury did not just feel that the company was negligent but that their conduct went way beyond just negligence - and was the direct cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries.

The plaintiffs in the case suffered tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries due to metallosis caused by the Pinnacle hip. Despite the fact that Johnson and Johnson promoted the Pinnacle hip as lasting longer than devices that included ceramic or plastic materials, the jury found that the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants were defectively designed and that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn people about the risks.

Instead of respecting the ruling of the representatives of our community, instead, Johnson & Johnson said it would immediately appeal the verdict. The defense lawyers now claim that the trial was not fair because of the judge. This is unfortunate because the Judge in this case is an incredible well respected federal court judge that was chosen by his colleagues to Johnson and Johnson will also ask the appeals court to postpone any additional trials over the implant defects.

TheLawFirm.com has seen verdicts of this size being scaled back by courts. In July, the judge presiding over this case, U.S. District Judge Edward Kinkeade, reduced a $500 million verdict in an earlier Pinnacle implant case to $151 million, citing a Texas state law that limits punitive damages awards. This is common and to be expected.

This was the third Pinnacle trial. The first one resulted in a win for the Defense and the last two trials resulted in enormous wins for the Plaintiffs.

It’s important that our clients understand that this trial result, while it is the best we could have hoped for, will not lead to some miraculous change of heart by Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson are among the most difficult of companies when it comes to resolving claims of defective products. That said, this verdict is expected to add to the mounting pressure on Johnson & Johnson to face the reality of their conduct and, more importantly, listen to how members of our community feel about their conduct.

A verdict like this does not just reflect a view that Johnson & Johnson could have done more. It reflects that the jury heard, for weeks of trial testimony and evidence, of what Johnson & Johnson did with their Pinnacle hip and the jury was angry that the corporation put profits ahead of people.

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Depuy Loses Another Trial - Ordered To Pay Over $500 Million

March 12, 2016
In March 2016, after a two-month trial, there was a verdict in a Texas-based lawsuit against DePuy. The case is In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 3:11-md-02244, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The federal jury awarded, “$142 million in actual damages and $360 million in punitive damages to a group of five patients whose metal hips broke down and had to be removed. The artificial hips at issue were DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup Systems, a metal-on-metal hip implant.

The jury found that the hip devices were defective and that the company failed to warn doctors and patients about the risks. The plaintiffs claimed that “design flaws caused the devices to fail more frequently and quickly than expected, leading to injuries including tissue death, bone erosion and high levels of metal in their blood.

In July 2016, the Court reduced this verdict to comply with Texas law. However, the final judgment was still in the tens of millions of dollars. Even with a major reduction in the award, it appears that Johnson and Johnson has no plans to pay it. They will certainly appeal this verdict, which will likely take years.

However, many still hope that this verdict will help settle the outstanding cases. It is our hope that the DePuy Pinnacle cases settle in a similar fashion to the DePuy ASR settlement, which resulted in a base award of $250,000 to each claimant who had a revision (replacement) of their DePuy hip implant.

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