DePuy, Johnson & Johnson Must Pay for Defective Hip Implants. Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., was found liable for millions of dollars by a jury in Texas. The jury handed down its resounding verdict after a lengthy trial on November 16, 2017. The jury found for all ten plaintiffs and awarded compensatory, future, and punitive damages after finding Johnson & Johnson and DePuy liable. The Texas verdict is the second large jury award in two years for plaintiffs who were harmed by Johnson & Johnson’s actions. It is clear from the juries’ verdicts that Johnson & Johnson has irreparably harmed many, many people.
Parker Waichman LLP is a national products liability law firm whose practice is dedicated to one goal: maximizing any possible financial recovery by seeking justice for their clients. Parker Waichman’s defective implant lawyers have many years of experience fighting for their clients. If you or a loved one suffered a complication from a DePuy implant, contact Parker Waichman today.
Johnson & Johnson/DePuy Litigation
Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics group have come under heavy scrutiny for marketing replacement hips that have caused more harm than good. This time around it is DePuy’s Pinnacle line of replacement knees that have caused patients and their families’ tremendous pain and suffering, tens of thousands in additional medical bills, and millions in lost wages and lost income potential. In 2010, Johnson & Johnson paid almost 8,000 plaintiffs over $1 billion for its defective A.S.R. line of replacement hips.
Apparently, neither Johnson & Johnson nor DePuy learned any lesson from the 2010 cases. Plaintiffs from all across the country have filed lawsuits in a federal court in Dallas, TX seeking damages for their injuries from receiving the Pinnacle Ultamet (“Pinnacle”) hip replacement implant which is a metal-on-metal design. The A.S.R. was also a metal-on-metal design.
The plaintiffs claim that the Pinnacle failed to meet the expectations promised by DePuy. Many people need to have their hips replaced much sooner than typically expected. The standard replacement hip joint lasts about 15 years. The Pinnacle was failing within a couple of years after the initial surgery. The faulty implants also caused the victims to suffer from tissue decay and bone loss. Those injuries are irreversible.
Having to replace the implant caused thousands of people to suffer. The plaintiffs endured tremendous pain and discomfort. They had difficulty moving and, as a result, the quality of their lives suffered significantly. No amount of money can replace those days that you miss with your family and friends because you hurt too much to move or you cannot work because the pain is intolerable. These significant, life-altering symptoms caused by greedy companies who wanted to make money based on the pain and suffering of their customers.
The Pinnacle products liability cases are being heard in federal court in Dallas. The judge presiding over the cases consolidated them through a process called Multi-district litigation or MDL. With MDL, the court and counsel select three or four cases that they consider to be “bellwether” cases. Bellwether cases are typically a fair representation of the entire group of cases. It is not a class action because all of those injured by the Pinnacle implant are known, and each has varying damage claims that would not have the opportunity to be litigated in a class action. However, the bellwether cases give counsel an ability to estimate how the cases would turn out if each case were tried to completion before a jury. It is impracticable to try 8,000 cases. Therefore, counsel and the court will decide as to how they should proceed with the remaining cases after the bellwether cases have been fully litigated.
The Bellwether trial results.
Johnson & Johnson/DePuy (collectively “Johnson & Johnson”) prevailed on the first bellwether trial. The second case yielded an entirely different result. The second bellwether trial was held in November of 2016. The jury found in favor of the six plaintiffs and awarded them in excess of $1 billion in damages. The damages included compensation for past medical costs, future medical costs, lost wages, loss of consortium, as well as punitive damages.
According to Fortune Magazine, the jury awarded the plaintiffs $32 million in compensatory damages and the remainder was punitive damages. The trial judge reduced the punitive damages award, citing Texas state law that caps punitive damages. The plaintiffs have appealed that rule; Johnson & Johnson have appealed the verdict. After that trial, Johnson & Johnson’s lawyers continued to comment about how the company was not responsible for falsely marketing and designing the Pinnacle hip implant. The most recent verdict might change their opinion about their clients.
On November 16, 2017, third bellwether trial concluded with a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs. This verdict did not reach the billion-dollar mark. However, with an award of $78 million in punitive damages against DePuy plus a $90 million award against Johnson & Johnson, in addition to tens of millions in compensatory damages, including past medical expenses, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering, along with loss of consortium, this jury sent a clear and unmistakable message to Johnson & Johnson. The message was that their behavior involving the design, manufacture, and marketing of the Pinnacle line of hip replacement implants wrongfully mislead and irreparably damaged all ten plaintiffs.
The jury’s verdict makes it unmistakable that Johnson & Johnson knew that the company mislead consumers and then concealed their wrongdoing. The court asked the jurors a series of questions when rendering its verdict. The first question was whether the Johnson & Johnson and/or DePuy were strictly liable for the harm they caused the plaintiffs because of a design defect. The jury answered in the affirmative for all plaintiffs and imposed liability on both companies.
The jury answered in the affirmative for almost all of the questions of liability on behalf of Johnson & Johnson and DePuy. The remaining counts alleged:
- Negligent design of the Pinnacle device;
- Strict liability for failure to warn about the dangers of the Pinnacle device;
- Strict liability for manufacturing defect;
- Negligent manufacture;
- Negligent undertaking on behalf of Johnson & Johnson;
- Negligent misrepresentation;
- Fraud to the surgeons who implanted the devices;
- Fraudulent concealment from the plaintiffs;
- Fraudulent concealment from the plaintiffs’ surgeons;
- Deceptive Business Practices towards plaintiffs and plaintiffs’ surgeons; and
- Aiding and Abetting DePuy on behalf of the Johnson & Johnson corporation.
The jury only deliberated for one day before reaching its verdict. The length of deliberations is significant because the trial lasted almost two months. To return a verdict in just one day powerfully demonstrates that the plaintiffs’ evidence of wrongdoing produced against the defendants was overwhelming.
The Future of Pinnacle Litigation
Johnson & Johnson has a decision to make. They can continue to fight each case, or they can pose a settlement offer that adequately compensates each remaining plaintiff while allowing for future plaintiffs to file claims. The plaintiffs in the last trial received their implants from 2007 to 2012. Other patients may come forward with claims and they should not be prevented from filing a claim if their injury did not surface before the defendants settled the lawsuit.
If You Suffered from A Faulty Hip Replacement, We Could Help
Parker Waichman LLP stakes its reputation on finding justice for victims of Johnson& Johnson and DePuy. Call Parker Waichman LLP for scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim, or more convenient you can fill out our website form. Time is of the essence, and any delay in contacting us could cause you to give up your rights forever. Call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) and speak with one of our defective hip implant lawyers about your rights.