A Federal jury in Dallas rendered its $1 Billion verdict today in the third bellwether trial involving cases against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson for their defective Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal hips. The Depuy Pinnacle M-o-M hips are alleged to create friction between the metal femoral head and metal acetabular cup causing cobalt and chromium metal particles to rub off and migrate into surrounding tissue. Once in the tissue, these particles can destroy tissue and bone and cause painful pseudo tumors as the body reacts to the foreign particles. The remedy is a revision surgery where the Pinnacle hip is removed and replaced with parts that are not metal-on-metal. Recovery from revision can be longer and more painful than the original surgery.
Hare Wynn attorney Don McKenna represents dozens of DePuy Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal hip clients. These cases are currently pending in the Federal Multi-District Litigation in Dallas Texas (case number 3:11-md-02244) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. If the bellwether trials do not result in a global settlement proposal, the individual cases will be sent home by the MDL Judge to be tried in their home districts – a result that would cause DePuy and Johnson & Johnson to have to simultaneously battle cases in many jurisdictions around the Country.
“This third bellwether verdict is significant in that it is another strong indication that liability is mounting for Depuy and Johnson & Johnson,” said McKenna.
The first bellwether trial involved a single plaintiff and resulted in a defense verdict. The second bellwether trial ended with a $502 million verdict for five Texas Plaintiffs. The verdict was reduced by the trial court to approximately $150 million because of the Texas punitive damage cap. The Defendants have appealed the reduced verdict to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals alleging numerous errors by the trial judge. Defendants are also expected to appeal this third bellwether verdict and may not consider any global settlement proposal until the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issues rulings on pending appeals.