As a DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement attorney and Texas Medical doctor I am providing this important update, regarding the first MDL hearing held in my home town of Dallas, Texas.
Attorneys from throughout the United States who represent DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement plaintiffs, met today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. This hearing was held in Dallas, and was the first status conference with the judge presiding over the recently formed multi-district litigation (MDL). The meeting between the plaintiff and defense attorneys was quite cordial and the hearing with Judge Kinkeade, lasted over 2 hours. This was an informal, esssentially a meet and greet type of hearing, much different from other types of contentious hearings.
It was interesting to stand at the back of the courtroom and observe the proceedings, the court room was jam packed, standing room only.
The meeting of the attorneys representing DePuy and various plaintiffs with Judge Kinkeade, addressed the format and structure of the pretrial proceedings and the composition of a committee of plaintiffs’ attorneys, who will serve in leadership positions and perform coordinated actions of the lawsuits consolidated in the MDL.
In May 2011, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered that all DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits filed in federal district courts throughout the United States will be consolidated for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Kinkeade.
According to a Master Case List released by the court on July 20, there are already 213 cases consolidated in the MDL. As DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement lawyers continue to investigate and file new cases, the federal MDL will continue to grow.
All of the suits have similar allegations that the DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System was defectively designed or manufactured, and that inadequate warnings were provided about the risk of early complications or problems, which have been developing within a few years of the surgery. In some cases, the DePuy Pinnacle hip problems may result in the need for additional surgery to replace or revise the hip replacement.
Many of the petitions also allege that DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has been aware of the problems with their metal-on-metal hip implants for some time and that a DePuy Pinnacle hip recall should have been issued several years ago.
DePuy filed a brief last week regarding the selection of the plaintiffs’ leadership positions. DePuy claimed that several DePuy Pinnacle lawyers representing plaintiffs in the federal MDL proceedings are continuing to file cases in state courts, naming local defendants such as physicians and sales representatives to avoid removal to federal court. DePuy argued that those attorneys should not be appointed to leadership positions, because such conduct impedes the progress of the litigation and undermines the goals of the MDL proceeding.
Johnson & Johnson and DePuy also face thousands of lawsuits over the recalled DePuy ASR hip replacement system, because of a higher-than-expected failure rate. The DePuy ASR hip was approved as a substantial equivalent design to the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip, and faces the similar allegations regarding design problems with the two devices.
In October, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) issued a warning about potential problems with metal on-metal hip replacements, indicating that patients and the medical community should be aware that pain months after hip replacement surgery may be a sign of metal-on-metal hip cobalt toxicity. In addition, the FDA launched a new website in February to provide information about the risks associated with metal-on-metal hip replacements.