This is an update to the DePuy Pinnacle Hip lawsuits. DePuy Pinnacle Hip implants have a tendency to fail prematurely, cause hip infections, elevated heavy metal ions and poisoning. Recently, a Texas federal jury in Dallas has awarded $502 million total to five separate plaintiffs after a lengthy consolidated trial involving defective DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implants manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy is under fire for premature failure of its line of metal on metal hip implants.
DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson was found liable hiding flaws in its DePuy Pinnacle line of metal on metal artificial hips that caused the devices to fail prematurely and left them facing revision surgeries and pain.
The landmark verdict delivered today follows claims filed by Margaret Aoki, Jay Christopher, Donald Greer, Richard Klusmann and Robert Peterson, all Texas residents who received DePuy’s Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System hip implant.
All five alleged that the devices had unreasonably high failure rates resulting in severe pain and inflammation, bone erosion, tissue loss and other problems.
The hip implant victims claimed that DePuy’s hip design was defective; that the company failed to give adequate warnings; and Johnson & Johnson aided and abetted in misrepresentations that rose to the level of fraud.
They awarded $142 million in actual damages and $360 million in punitive damages to a group of five patients whose hips broke down and had to be surgically removed.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas jury announced the verdict on March 17 after hearing 37 days of testimony.
J&J DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant Failures
Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary continues to face thousands of lawsuits over their defective metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip replacement. The Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant system was manufactured from 2002 to 2012 before DePuy pulled the metal liners off the market in 2013.
The Pinnacle devices have never been recalled, although DePuy recalled other metal-on-metal hip implants that were sold under the ASR brand name to roughly 35,000 patients here in the U.S.
According to the latest court data from March 15, 2016, there are more than 8,300 federal product liability lawsuits that have been filed by folks who experienced severe and serious problems with the artificial hip implant.
DePuy Pinnacle Hip Lawsuit Multidistrict Litigation
Since 2011 all federal DePuy Pinnacle cases has been consolidated and centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation.
Over 8,300 similar claims have been centralized in the Northern District of Texas before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade to streamline the discovery and bellwether trial process. The consolidated for pretrial proceedings were established in May 2011.
The first bellwether trial in 2014, found for the defense when the jury found that the patient injuries may have been as a result of poor doctor implant techniques.
DePuy Pinnacle Hip Failure
There are thousands of DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits that allege that the DePuy Pinnacle hip has an unreasonably dangerous and defective design, which was not thoroughly studied and that inadequate warnings were provided about the risk that the device may loosen and fail.
Microscopic metal particles are released into the body from the metal components, which are made from Cobalt and Chromium alloy grinding against each other during normal daily activities. This release of cobalt and chromium particles into the body is known as metallosis.
The jury found that DePuy took a number of short cuts getting the Pinnacle hip implants on the market, in part due to the 510(k) approval process, which only requires a device be substantially equivalent to devices already in use.
The company did not seek premarket approval, and so avoided the FDA requirement to determine if a device is safe or effective. There were no Pinnacle hip clinical trials to see if it even worked, or if it was safe to use.
The FDA released new guidance for metal-on-metal hip replacements in January 2013, indicating that doctors should only use the design if other artificial hip implants are not appropriate. The agency also determined that future metal-on-metal hip designs will be required to undergo extensive human clinical trials before they will be approved.