More Expert Witnesses Testify in DePuy Pinnacle TrialFeb 24, 2016
Expert witnesses continue to testify in a bellwether trial over the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant. Federal Judge Ed Kinkeade is presiding over the litigation in the Northern District of Texas, where jurors have been hearing arguments regarding five Pinnacle lawsuits. Plaintiffs allege DePuy failed to warn about the risk of injuries such as pain, implant loosening, tissue damage and metal poisoning. Complications stem from the implant's metal-on-metal design, suits allege. The outcome of the bellwether trial may impact future Pinnacle litigation.
The safety of metal-on-metal hip implants has been called into question, particularly after DePuy recalled its ASR hip implants worldwide in 2010 due to high rates of failure. Hip implants are intended to last many years, but ASR patients needed to undergo revision surgery to replace the device much sooner. Thousands of lawsuits were filed around the globe. DePuy Orthopaedics opened a settlement program in 2013 to compensate ASR plaintiffs.
The main components of a total hip replacement are the hip socket cup (acetabular cup) and a femoral stem that replace the top of the thighbone. In metal-on-metal hip replacements, both of these parts are made of metal. If the components grind together when the patient moves, metal ions may be released and cause a host of problems.
Expert witnesses from both sides have been testifying at the trial. The Defendants recently called Dr. Cato Laurencin to the stand. He was paid over $900,000.00 to testify, according to court documents. Dr. Laurencin is an orthopedic surgeon, biomedical engineer and inventor with over 50 patents, many dealing with polymers. He is a professor at University of Connecticut. In terms of education, he received his bachelor's degree at Princeton, medical degree at Harvard Medical School and degree in Biotechnology from MIT. Dr. Laurencin is accepted as an expert in fields of orthopedic history, orthopedic surgery, orthopedic implants and evidence based medicine.