BREAKING NEWS: DePuy Hip Implant Lawsuit

The saga of the Johnson & Johnson hip replacement lawsuits concerning the DePuy Pinnacle artificial hips continued on Friday, November 17 when a Dallas jury awarded $247 million to six patients who claimed that the company intentionally hid defects in the appliances.  This case marks the third time the company has been required to pay a big-dollar award over this particular product.

The jury decided that company executives knew the device was flawed, but continued not to inform doctors and patients. The jury award included a total of $79 million in actual damages and $168 million in punitive damages. The plaintiffs were a group of six New York residents who suffered through surgical hip removal due to the failure.

What Is The DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant?

The DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement is a total hip implant system that was designed and manufactured by DePuy, the same company that ordered the recall of and later discontinued the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement. The device gives doctors a choice between liners that are placed inside the outer cup or socket of the device. The choice of liners includes metal, ceramic, or polyethylene, which is a plastic.

When used with a metal liner, the hip replacement system becomes a metal-on-metal apparatus similar to the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system.

A major problem with metal-on-metal hip implants is that they feature a metal femoral head or ball against a metal acetabular cup. This configuration can cause a grinding of the two surfaces when a patient who has been equipped with such a system walks, runs, or does any other activity. The grinding over time can cause the release of metal particles that gets into the blood, bone, and tissues and can initiate metallosis, a condition in which there is high levels of metals, cobalt, and chromium in the blood. This can lead to:

  •      Thickening of the blood
  •      Vertigo
  •      Deafness and/or blindness
  •      Cognitive problems
  •      Cardiomyopathy
  •      Nerve problems
  •      Ringing in the ears

The problem can lead to revision surgery to repair the implant. Such surgery is painful and expensive and takes a lot of time that could affect one’s ability to do a job. Just like any other surgery, revision surgery can cause additional complications. Moreover, removing the faulty implant will not remove the tiny metal particles that cause metallosis.

History Of Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Hip Implant Lawsuits

The saga involving the Johnson & Johnson DePuy hip implant lawsuit began in October 2014 when a Texas jury ruled that the company was not liable. That first case was imperative to Johnson & Johnson, which was fighting to avoid a rerun of its DePuy ASR metal-on-metal lawsuit that resulted in a $2.5 billion settlement adjudicated in 2013.

A series of hip implant lawsuits concerning the DePuy Pinnacle device continued in 2016 through this year.

  •      In December 2016 a Federal Court jury in Dallas, Texas ruled that Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit had to pay more than $1 billion to six plaintiffs. The total award was $1.041 billion.
  •      In January 2017 Plaintiffs who had won a decision against Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to consolidate the company’s appeal that it knowingly sold a defective hip replacement.
  •      On February 3, 2016 Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics won a dismissal of a False Claims lawsuit brought by two British surgeons concerning its since-discontinued Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant.
  •      In August 2017 Johnson & Johnson told a federal court in Texas that it was not liable for any of the products manufactured by its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics.
  •      On September 5, 2017 The Fifth Circuit Court ruled that a federal judge had committed an error in a trial alleging a defect in the Johnson & Johnson Pinnacle hip implant and requested that an upcoming triall be cancelled.
  •      On September 12, 2017 Johnson & Johnson asked the First Circuit Court to reconsider its partial revival of a lawsuit that was adjudicating whether the company made false claims concerning its DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement.
  •      On September 21, 2017 the fourth bellwether trial involving a class action lawsuit with 9,100 plaintiffs in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case against Johnson & Johnson alleging that the company was involved in negligent conduct when it designed, marketed, and sold a defective metal-on-metal hip replacement device began in Dallas, Texas.
  •      On September 21, 2017 the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, Illinois granted plaintiff a new trial in her case against Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit concerning the alleged negligence of the company on one of its hip replacement products.  Four years previously, the plaintiff, Carol Strum, lost her case against the company.
  •      On October 3, 2017 an Illinois plaintiff who had filed a suit against Johnson & Johnson and it subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics concerning alleged negligence in selling faulty hip replacements was granted a new trial.
  •      On October 4, 2017 Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics lost an attempt to get a stay from the First Circuit Court.

It is apparent that there has been an outbreak of Johnson & Johnson DePuy Pinnacle hip implant lawsuits throughout the year and more are expected. If you or a loved one has experienced complications caused by a DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement, we urge you to call an experienced hip implant lawyer at the Eichholz Law Firm now for a free consultation.