In March 2016 a federal jury in Dallas awarded $502 million to five plaintiffs who claimed that they suffered severe injuries from defective hip implants manufactured by DePuy Orthopedics, which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. According to a story in The Dallas Morning News, after 37 days of testimony and five days of deliberations, the jury found that Johnson & Johnson was liable, negligent and responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. They awarded the five plaintiffs with $142 million in actual damages and $360 million in punitive damages.
The DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement System was designed to provide flexibility and improved range of motion over other hip replacement products on the market. However, instead of eliminating the problem of failure from overuse, the metal-on-metal construction of the device created other significant problems for patients. The metal-on-metal deign led to problems such as:
- Metallosis (metal poisoning of the blood)
After generating many adverse reactions and high failure rates in patients, the Pinnacle hip implants, which were approved by the FDA in 2000, were withdrawn from the market but not recalled. In January 2013, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Med Watch safety alert to patients who had metal-on-metal hip implants, or those who were considering getting a hip implant. The FDA also told companies that manufactured metal-on-metal hip replacements to either stop selling them or provide clinical studies which addressed the benefits and risks of metal implants. In 2013 DePuy decided to stop selling the metal hip implants which they had been selling for the better part of a decade rather than supply the clinical studies demanded by the FDA.
There are more than 5,400 claims related to the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement implants in MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas of Judge James E. Kinkeade. This bellwether trial consolidated the cases of five plaintiffs, and the outcome may become a factor in hastening possible settlements for the thousands of cases involving defective Pinnacle hip implants being considered by Judge Kinkeade. (DePuy Orthopedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2244).
DePuy and Johnson & Johnson stand by their products and plan to appeal the verdict.
Those who have had a Pinnacle hip implant which has caused them adverse symptoms, or has required revision surgery, may want to have a conversation with a Washington, D.C. products liability attorney. When you have suffered an injury caused by a defective product, especially one that has been implanted into your body, you have legal options available to you. You may be able to file a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Having a consultation will not cost you anything and you will be able to get answers to your questions about how to proceed.