December 1, 2016 — DePuy Orthopedics has been ordered to pay $1.04 billion to six people who needed surgery when their Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implant failed.
After a two-month trial, a federal jury in Texas handed down the verdict — the 3rd largest of 2016, according to Bloomberg.
It is the second “bellwether” trial out of more than 8,600 similar cases pending in the Pinnacle hip implant litigation (MDL No. 2244).
The first trial ended in a $500 million jury verdict against DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It was quickly cut to $150 million under state laws in Texas capping punitive damages.
This time, because all six plaintiffs were from California, the same cap on punitive damages does not apply.
Law360 reports that each plaintiff was awarded between $4 million and $6 million for injuries. Four spouses were awarded $1 million each for loss of consortium. DePuy and J&J were each punished with $504 million in punitive damages.
The plaintiffs were represented by Mark Lanier of Houston, Texas. He told the jury that DePuy marketed the Pinnacle as “99.9% successful,” when in reality only 53% were successful after 11 years. Hip implants should last 15-20 years with no more than 5% failing.
DePuy stopped selling the Pinnacle Ultamet in 2013, a few months after the FDA ordered new safety studies. It was never recalled. Lanier told the jury the implant was defective and never adequately tested for safety:
“It’s common sense that you don’t rub metal against metal without there being adequate lubrication. They never solved any of the metal-on-metal problems. But they went to market anyway.”
Most metal-on-metal hip implants never went through clinical trials because manufacturers claimed they was “equivalent” to other hip implants with plastic or ceramic designs. All-metal hips were then marketed as superior, longer-lasting, ideal for younger patients.
Tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed by people who were injured by metal-on-metal hip implants. The FDA has issued numerous warnings about the “unique” risks of the design — namely, metal parts grinding together and releasing chromium and cobalt into the hip joint.
Revision surgery for a defective metal hip implant is physically traumatic, often leaves patients with permanent disabilities, and cannot cure side effects in other parts of the body due to metal poisoning — brain damage, heart problems, and hypothyroidism.
Do I have a DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting DePuy Pinnacle Ultramet induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know needed revision surgery, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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