As reported by Law360 (subscription), a Texas jury has found Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopedics liable for over $1 billion in a federal 6-plaintiff bellwether trial over injurious metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants causing metal poisoning and other injuries to implant recipients. The jury deliberated for less than a day in finding negligence in design and a failure to warn surgeons and patients about the dangers of the metal-component Pinnacle hip implants. The verdict is more than six times greater than the $150 million reached in a previous bellwether trial against J&J on these hip implant injuries.
The two-month trial ended on November 30th, and the jury’s verdict includes $4-$6 miillion for each plaintiff for damages over physical injuries, pain, and suffering, $1 million each to 4 spouses and more than $500 million against J&J and DePuy for punitive damages in light of the jury’s finding of malice/fraud.
As Law360 noted, “Because the six plaintiffs are from California, they are not [would not have been] subject to the same punitive damages cap that slashed by more than two-thirds the $502 million verdict from the second bellwether trial, which involved Texas plaintiffs.” The case focused on six California plaintiffs who underwent surgeries known as revisions after receiving metal-on-metal hip implant systems manufactured by DePuy.
The multi-district bellwether litigation focused on allegations about friction between the implant’s metal socket and metal ball head that rub dangerous microscopic particles into the bloodstream with every step. “The plaintiffs alleged J&J knew the device was riskier than others available but still pushed it aggressively, even paying kickbacks to amenable surgeons,” noted Law360.
At closing, attorneys sought a penalty stiff enough to induce Johnson & Johnson to change its behavior with respect to future medical devices, suggesting that a $500 million punitive damages award would “hardly be felt” by a company worth $72 billion.
Read the full story at Law360 (subscription).
Contact a DePuy Pinnacle Hip Injury Attorney
Lieff Cabraser represents patients across America in personal injury lawsuits against DePuy, Johnson & Johnson, and other hip implant manufacturers over allegations of defective and dangerous prosthetic products. Over the last 20 years, Lieff Cabraser has assisted thousands of patients recover millions in judgments and settlements in medical device injury cases. If you have been injured by a Depuy Pinnacle hip implant, or any similar hip device, our injury attorneys encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation review of your case.