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J&J Hammered in Texas Over Its DePuy Pinnacle Line of Metal Hip Implants

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Today, a Texas federal jury in Dallas has awarded $502 million total to five separate plaintiffs after a lengthy consolidated trial involving defective Pinnacle Hip Implants manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

DePuy ASR Metallosis Injury AttorneyDePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson was found liable hiding flaws in its Pinnacle line of metal on metal artificial hips that caused the devices to fail prematurely and left them facing revision surgeries and pain.

The jury found that the hips sold by J&J’s DePuy unit under the Pinnacle brand name were defective and company officials knew about the flaws but failed to warn patients and doctors of the risks.

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. The jury received the case on March 10 and deliberated for four more days before reaching the verdict.

J&J DePuy Hip Implant Failures

Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary continues to face thousands of lawsuits over their defective metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip replacement.

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.

Federal DePuy Pinnacle 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 Problems

Thousands of similar lawsuits 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.

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  1. James Buckner says:
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    Major question and concern for many… is the entire Pinnacle line including Metal on Polyethylene (MoP) included in this verdict?