One of Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary companies has asked a federal appellate court to enter a stay of litigation in a lawsuit involving its Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant device. The company is seeking this time-out, claiming that it needs to appeal a $490 million jury verdict against the medical device manufacturer. During March 2016, a federal jury in Texas returned a verdict against DePuy Orthopedics, the subsidiary in question, totaling $490 million in favor of five plaintiffs who alleged the subsidiary’s hip implant caused them serious injuries.
Following a two-month trial on the product liability claim, the jurors concluded that DePuy’s metal-on-metal hip implants, which were a spinoff model based on the Pinnacle hip implants, were designed in an unreasonably dangerous manner and that DePuy had failed to include appropriate warnings with the products about the dangers that users may face. To recover compensation in a medical device case, the plaintiff must show that the medical device was designed in an unreasonably dangerous fashion. This can also include facts showing that the company failed to include proper warnings or instructions with the device. Here, for example, the plaintiffs alleged that DePuy failed to warn patients about the likelihood of metal fragments entering patients’ bloodstreams and causing metallosis. The jury returned a verdict form awarding $130 million in compensatory damages and $360 million in punitive damages.
Prior to this, in October 2014, the first case litigating whether the Pinnacle hip implant was defective was concluded when a federal jury returned a verdict stating that DePuy was not liable for the plaintiffs’ injuries and awarding the plaintiffs zero damages.
In its appellate papers filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, DePuy is asking the court to stay an upcoming trial involving seven plaintiffs who are alleging similar product liability and negligence claims regarding the hip implant devices. The trial is supposed to take place on September 6, 2016. The appellate court must now decide whether to grant mandamus to compel the court set to hear the September 6, 2016, trial to stay the litigation pending DePuy’s appeal of the $490 million verdict against it.
The lawyers for DePuy also contend that since the court presiding over the MDL proceeding has stated that it will consolidate any additional bellwether cases into a multi-plaintiff trial, the court will probably render additional rulings on the same issues that the defendant is hoping to appeal. This means that DePuy could face 12 verdicts against it, encompassing a total of $1 billion in damages, before the court has a chance to hear DePuy’s appeal. If the appellate court reverses the $490 million verdict against DePuy, the company claims it will have suffered unnecessary inconvenience, trial expenses, and reputational harm.
If you received a metal-on-metal hip implant and experienced painful injuries as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. A variety of medical device manufacturers are facing liability in hundreds of lawsuits involving similar claims of debilitating injuries associated with the hip implant devices. At Moll Law Group, our skilled team of DePuy lawyers are available to1 assist you with determining whether your device is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit and the legal remedies that may be available to you. Representing victims throughout New York, California, Illinois, and Texas, among other states, we provide a free consultation. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online now.