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Pinnacle Hip Implant Multidistrict Litigation Lawsuit Updates

Sep 27, 2016

After being hit with $500 million verdict in the second Pinnacle hip bellwether trial in June 2016, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and its DePuy Orthopaedics division will be defending against seven cases consolidated in another bellwether trial in the Northern District of Texas. U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade chose seven cases for a bellwether trial which began September 26, 2016. Over 8,500 federal cases are pending in Pinnacle hip multidistrict litigation (MDL), and these bellwether trials are representative of the claims of the entire MDL.

The Pinnacle Hip Replacement System first came on the market in 2000. DePuy discontinued the device in mid-2013. The hip lawsuits claim that the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant is defective in design, was not properly tested before coming on the market, and that DePuy neglected to warn the public of the risks.

Plaintiffs claim these hip implants led to numerous complications that included severe pain, loosening and dislocation of the device as well as metal poisoning known as metallosis. Metallosis is a condition where metal ions cause tissue and bone death as well as neurological and autoimmune symptoms. A number of plaintiffs required revision surgery to remove faulty implants.

After the jury awarded the plaintiff $497.6 million verdict in the second bellwether trial in May, J&J and DePuy asked the court to put the cases on hold in order to appeal the verdict. Judge Kinkeade refused J&J’s request stating “There are more than 8,000 pending cases in this MDL; the court cannot grant a stay every time plaintiffs win a trial.”

J&J won the first Pinnacle bellwether in October 2014, but it previously settled claimspoisoning  for its DePuy ASR hip implant in 2013 for an estimated amount of $4 billion.

The DePuy Pinnacle is similar to other brands of hip replacements including Biomet, Stryker, and Zimmer, and all plagued by claims of design defects. The consensus has become that metal-on-metal hip replacements are a bad product. Baby boomers in particular were taken in. They were told their implants would last 20-25 years. “People expected their hip replacement to outlive them but the reality is far from that,” a cardiologist said.

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