A North Texas Federal jury returned a $498 million verdict for five plaintiffs injured by Johnson & Johnson’s defective DePuy metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip.
Approximately one-third of the damages awarded were compensatory damages for the injuries suffered by the plaintiffs and two-thirds of the damages were punitive against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson. This verdict is a dramatic turnaround from the first bellwether trial which was lost by the plaintiff. While this case will certainly be appealed by Johnson & Johnson, the size of the verdict increases the possibility for a global settlement similar to that which Johnson & Johnson reached regarding consumers injured by its ASR metal-on-metal hips.
Hare,Wynn, Newell & Newton is handling DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip cases for approximately 50 clients across its offices in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, and Kentucky, as well as clients throughout the United States. Don McKenna is the lead lawyer at Hare Wynn handling these cases.
According to Don, “The difference in the first trial and the second is that the first trial was a single plaintiff and the second trial involved five plaintiffs. The defense tactic in the first trial was to attack the plaintiff’s surgeon and claim it was the surgical technique that caused the problem with the hip. That defense becomes much more difficult with five different plaintiffs and five different surgeons at issue in the trial.”
Added Don, “The defense of attacking the surgeon is a red herring, because thousands of people have had to have these hips removed and replaced and all of their surgeons cannot be using the wrong technique. Trying multiple cases together removes the red herring from the trial and the result was telling.”
The problem with the Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal hip is that the metal surfaces rub together causing metal cobalt and chromium ions to be released into the surrounding tissues. These ions can cause a condition known as metallosis that can kill the muscle and bone or lead the growth pseudo-tumors that press on nerves causing serious pain. The relief is another costly and painful surgery to remove the hip and replace it with a device that is not metal-on-metal. Tens of thousands of DePuy metal-on-metal hips were sold and implanted throughout the United States.
Cases are still being filed against Johnson & Johnson on a daily basis.