A federal judge in Texas recently entered an order reducing a jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson regarding its DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant device. Marketed under the brand name Pinnacle, thousands of plaintiffs have sued DePuy, alleging that the metal-on-metal hip implant was defective, was unreasonably dangerous, and failed to include proper warnings about the risks associated with the device.
One of the most common injuries associated with metal-on-metal hip implants is metallosis, which is a type of metal poisoning. When the metal components of the hip implant device rub together, microscopic fragments of metal are released into the blood and surrounding tissues. Metallosis causes serious complications, including damage to the bone, tissue, and nervous systems. In some cases, the symptoms associated with the condition do not manifest for several months. These symptoms include skin rashes, infection, nerve pain, cognitive impairment, heart problems, depression, anxiety, and visual impairment that can lead to blindness. Other complications associated with the Pinnacle device include chronic pain, popping and clicking, and complications requiring a revision or removal surgery.
In December 2015, a jury in Dallas returned a verdict concluding that DePuy designed the Pinnacle device in an unreasonably dangerous manner and failed to warn patients. It awarded the plaintiffs in the lawsuit $32 million in compensatory damages and over $1 billion in punitive damages. Punitive damages are a separate category of compensation that is designed to punish a defendant for reckless, malicious, and wanton conduct. It is also intended to deter similarly situated individuals from engaging in comparable behavior.
In a prior lawsuit involving Pinnacle hip implants, the same judge reduced a jury’s $500 million verdict against DePuy, citing constitutional considerations as the basis. In lieu of the jury’s award, the judge awarded the plaintiff $4.6 million in compensatory damages and roughly $74.4 million in punitive damages. Public records indicate that the judge reduced jury awards for plaintiffs in at least five other lawsuits.
Each of the six plaintiffs involved in the verdict reductions has appealed the judge’s orders. These cases represent the third cluster of bellwether cases to go forward in the DePuy Multi-District Litigation. An MDL proceeding is similar to a class action in that cases involving common factual and legal allegations are grouped together. Unlike in a class action, however, each plaintiff must still prove his or her own claim and entitlement to damages. Currently, there are around 9,000 lawsuits pending against DePuy in the MDL.
In October 2014, the second wave of bellwether trials was litigated, and the same judge reduced a jury verdict of $500 million in damages to approximately $151 million.
The dedicated DePuy lawyers at Moll Law Group can assist people who have been affected by DePuy’s Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant device. We represent clients throughout the United States, including in Illinois, New York, Florida, and Texas. Our compassionate and tenacious team of attorneys can ensure that you receive the personalized and dedicated legal counsel that you deserve. We offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and to help you learn about your legal rights, so call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online.