Pinnacle Hip Implant Award
Written by Faith Anderson on March 18, 2016
$498 Million Verdict Delivered in Second Pinnacle Hip Implant Bellwether Trial
Johnson & Johnson has been hit with a $498 million verdict in the second bellwether trial in the multidistrict litigation involving allegedly defective Pinnacle hip implants manufactured by the company’s DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary. The product liability lawsuit was made up of the consolidated claims of five plaintiffs who alleged that they suffered serious injuries from the artificial metal-on-metal hip implants, which have recently been discontinued due to an increased risk of implant failure and other problems. If you believe you have been adversely affected by alleged side effects of a metal-on-metal hip implant like J&J’s Pinnacle hip device, consult a knowledgeable product liability lawyer today to discuss your possible compensation options.
Allegations Raised in Defective Hip Implant Lawsuits
Following a two-month trial and days of deliberations, the Dallas jury found in favor of all five plaintiffs in the Pinnacle lawsuit, awarding more than $130 million in compensatory damages and more than $360 million in punitive damages, designed to punish the company for its deceptive actions. During the trial, the five plaintiffs claimed that Johnson & Johnson’s Pinnacle hip implants were defectively designed and were prone to considerable wear and tear that resulted in metal debris being shed from the devices. They also alleged that the devices failed earlier than expected, leading to severe injuries like bone erosion, tissue death and metallosis.
According to the plaintiffs in the Pinnacle lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics aggressively marketed their metal-on-metal hip implant as durable, long-lasting and safe, particularly for younger, more active patients, despite being aware of the hips’ higher-than-expected rate of failure. DePuy halted sales of the metal-on-metal version of its Pinnacle hip in 2013, and that same year, paid $2.5 billion to resolve more than 7,000 lawsuits brought against the company over another metal-on-metal hip implant, the ASR, which was recalled for similar problems in 2010.
Lawsuits Over Injuries from the Pinnacle Hip
This latest verdict comes in the second Pinnacle bellwether trial involving Johnson & Johnson’s prosthetic hip. The first Pinnacle hip implant case to go to trial in Texas ended in October 2014, when a Dallas federal jury found in favor of J&J and its DePuy unit, clearing the companies of liability in the defective hip implant case. DePuy stated at that time that it “expects additional cases to be tried” and that the medical device maker “remains committed to the long-term and vigorous defense” of the lawsuits. A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson stated after the verdict was delivered that the company plans to appeal the decision.
In addition to this latest claim, Johnson & Johnson faces more than 8,000 product liability lawsuits brought on behalf of consumers who received Pinnacle hip implants and have since suffered serious injuries allegedly caused by the prosthetic hips. The cases have been consolidated in Dallas Federal Court under U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, for coordinated pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation, and the judge had previously ruled that the five cases involved in this trial had sufficient common issues to warrant a consolidation of the complaints. For instance, as originally reported by Law360, “all five plaintiffs here underwent similar implantation surgeries, their doctors received similar warnings, and the patients all alleged similar injuries.”
Pinnacle Hip Implant Bellwether Trials
This $498 million verdict is a dramatic turnaround from the first Pinnacle bellwether trial, and while verdicts in these early trials are not binding on the rest of the litigation, the size of the award increases the possibility of a global settlement similar to that which Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy subsidiary reached regarding individuals injured by the recalled ASR metal-on-metal hip implants. Bellwether trials are designed to gauge how the court may react to evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation, with the goal of moving the overall litigation towards resolution.
The five plaintiffs involved in this trial alleged that J&J and DePuy failed to adequately warn that the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip could cause serious complications like pain, tissue damage, implant loosening and metal poisoning. Many other lawsuits have alleged that all-metal hip implants, like the Pinnacle and ASR devices, were not clinically tested before being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and in August 2015, the FDA sought to address this issue by subjecting artificial hip manufacturers to a stricter approval process, to ensure that metal-on-metal hips are safe before being approved.
An Experienced Pinnacle Hip Implant Lawyer Can Help
Not every medical device is adequately tested before entering the market, and the injuries brought to light in this Pinnacle hip implant lawsuit are well-known complications of metal-on-metal hips. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries like implant loosening, chronic pain, metallosis or implant fracture after receiving a Pinnacle artificial hip implant, our consumer advocates can help. You may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopedics, and our consumer advocates can help put you in touch with a reputable attorney who has experience handling metal-on-metal hip implant claims.