Jurors Continue to Hear Testimony in DePuy Pinnacle Bellwether TrialFeb 19, 2016
The bellwether trial involving five lawsuits over the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant proceeds, as more people continue to testify in the Northern District of Texas before Judge Ed Kinkeade. The lawsuits allege the Pinnacle hip replacement is defective due to its metal-on-metal design, which sheds metal debris into the body. Alleged injuries include pain, implant loosening, tissue damage and metal poisoning. Plaintiffs accuse DePuy of failing to warn about the risk of implant failure and other related complications.
The outcome of the bellwether trial may impact future litigation over the Pinnacle hip implant. In 2010, DePuy issued a worldwide recall of its ASR metal-on-metal hip implants due to high failure rates. Although hip replacements are designed to last over a decade, patients were forced to undergo revision surgery to remove the faulty implant much earlier. The high-profile recall raised concerns about the safety of metal-on-metal hip implants as a whole. The company was hit with thousands of lawsuits and opened a settlement program in 2013.
A traditional total hip replacement uses artificial components to mimic the natural ball-and-socket motion of the hip joint. An acetabular cup acts as a hip socket, and interacts with a ball on top of a stem, which is inserted into the femur. In metal-on-metal hip implants, both the components are made of metal, as opposed to metal and plastic or ceramic. All-metal hip devices have been involved in recalls and sparked safety concerns because they can release metal particles into the body, leading to various complications and ultimately implant failure.
As the trial proceeds, jurors continue to hear testimonies from both sides. Reportedly, two defense experts will be called to the stand regarding immunology and orthopedic implant development.