A Texas jury recently returned an award in the amount of $497.6 million to five DePuy Pinnacle hip plaintiffs. Approximately $360 million was designated as punitive damages while the remainder of the settlement was for compensatory damages. Prior to this landmark settlement, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., submitted numerous requests to the Court to divide the trial into two parts in an effort to obtain a ruling on a specific set of legal issues without the Court looking at all aspects of the Plaintiffs’ claims. DePuy also submitted more than ten requests for a mistrial. All of the requests were denied during this bellwether trial presided over by Judge Ed Kinkeade, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Injuries and Harm Suffered by Five Pinnacle Hip Device Plaintiffs
The five plaintiffs asserted the DePuy Pinnacle metal hip device had resulted in a variety of significant health problems, including unreasonably high failure rates, the deterioration and death of bone and tissue, severe pain in the hip, thigh and groin areas, and significant inflammation, leading to the necessity of revision surgery. Other serious health issues associated with metal toxicity have also been seen in many patients with metal hip implants. Just a few of those issues include loss of vision and hearing, neurological and cardiovascular issues, alterations in DNA, memory loss, reproductive disorders, gastrointestinal, renal and thyroid disorders and skin rashes.
The plaintiffs in this most recent trial further claimed the Pinnacle design was defective, that J & J “aided and abetted in misrepresentations that rose to the level of fraud,” and that the company failed to adequately warn consumers about the potential dangers of the Pinnacle device. Judge Kinkeade ruled earlier, in January 2016, that the five cases should be consolidated for trial due to the number of common issues between the plaintiffs. Those common issues included similar Pinnacle surgical procedures, similar injuries resulting from the Pinnacle device, and similar warning to the plaintiffs’ doctors.
Has the Pinnacle Been Recalled?
The Pinnacle metal device has not been recalled, despite the number of lawsuits currently filed against J & J for injuries attributed to the Pinnacle, as well as the more than 1,300 adverse event Pinnacle reports sent to the FDA. Maintaining the design of the Pinnacle is not defective and claiming the implant is perfectly safe, Johnson & Johnson has refused to recall the Pinnacle, although they did remove the metal liner from the market in 2013.
Will the Pinnacle Litigation Result in a Settlement?
The DePuy ASR metal hip device was recalled in 2010, and more than 10,000 lawsuits were subsequently filed against DePuy and J & J. In 2013, J & J made the decision to settle the majority of the ASR cases for more than $2.5 billion. With more than 7,000 current Pinnacle cases, some wonder whether they will eventually do the same with this metal hip device. In fact, huge corporations like Johnson & Johnson will typically weather several large losses before agreeing to settle the remaining cases.
It is expected Johnson & Johnson will point to the first Pinnacle bellwether case in which a Texas jury unanimously found in favor of J & J on all counts, rejecting the plaintiff’s claims of failure to warn, defective design and negligence. Following that first 8-week trial, J & J built on their win, releasing a statement which defended the Pinnacle’s record for safety and effectiveness. While the first bellwether case was a blow to plaintiffs across the nation, this recent major win should offer injured Pinnacle patients renewed hope.
Injured Pinnacle Patients Getting the Help They Need
If you are a patient who suffered injury from a Pinnacle hip device, it is not too late to speak to a knowledgeable Pinnacle hip attorney at Stroud, Flechas & Dalton, joining thousands of others who are seeking damages from Johnson & Johnson. We understand that you may be struggling right now—struggling to recover from injuries from a device you believed to be safe. We want you to be able to begin the healing process without worrying about medical expenses and possibly being unable to work due to your injuries. Stroud, Flechas & Dalton knows that time is of the essence in these types of defective medical device cases, and we believe we can help. If you want to ensure your rights are fully protected, and you want to deal with an experienced, compassionate attorney, call Stroud, Flechas & Dalton today at (662) 536-5656 to discuss the merits of your Pinnacle case.