On December 1, 2016, a Texas jury found in favor of six plaintiffs in a trial against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics over injuries relating to the companies’ Pinnacle brand metal-on-metal hip implants that failed in many patients. As reported by Law360, on January 3, 2017 U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade reduced the more than $1 billion in punitive damages the jury awarded in the case to $543 million in light of Supreme Court precedent finding constitutional limits to punitive damage awards.
The jury had awarded $168 million in punitive damages to each of the six plaintiffs, for a total punitive damages award of over $1 billion. This amount was levied in addition to individual compensatory damage awards to each plaintiff, which amounts were not reduced.
In the original complaint, the patient plaintiffs charged that the DePuy Pinnacle hip implants suffer from design and manufacturing defects which can cause metallosis, a painful and dangerous condition where excessive amounts of metal enter the bloodstream. As a result of the device failures, the hip implants ultimately must be replaced through additional revision surgery.
The MDL is In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implants Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:11-md-02244, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.