Jurors in the Texas bellwether trial over injuries allegedly caused by the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant continue to hear expert testimony in week 6 of the trail. Federal Judge Ed Kinkeade is presiding over the case, the outcome of which could affect other Pinnacle lawsuits.
Metal-on-metal hip implants like the DePuy Pinnacle device have been associated with high rates of failure. Although these devices are supposed to last for more than a decade, some metal hip recipients have suffered complications soon after implantation and have needed revision surgery to remove and replace the device. DePuy recalled the similar ASR metal-on-metal hip implants worldwide in 2010 due to a high failure rate. Since then, other brands and models of metal-on-metal hips have been recalled. In 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics established a settlement program to resolve lawsuits brought by ASR recipients.
During the earlier weeks of the trial, jurors heard testimony about whether DePuy’s Pinnacle hip devices are responsible for painful complications including difficulty standing or walking; loosening of the implant; pain that spreads to the groin and/or back; tissue death; soft tissue damage; and metal poisoning.
Among the experts who have testified are father and son orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Bernard Morrey and Dr. Matt Morrey. Dr. Bernard Morrey has taught at the Mayo Clinic for over 30 years and he told the jury he has never used metal-on-metal hip implants for his patients. Dr. Matt Morrey was asked to provide a report and he may be required to return for further examination. Evidence shows that defense expert, Dr. Brian Haas, has received more than $7.5 million in royalty/consulting payments from the industry. The latest witness, Dr. Scott Nelson, an orthopedic pathologist, and director of Laboratory Medicine at the Santa Monica UCLA and Orthopedic Hospital, has funding ties to DePuy. Dr. Nelson reviewed the pathology slides for all five plaintiffs in the case and his testimony addressed causation of their injuries. Nelson regularly collaborates with defense witness Pat Campbell, Ph.D. who does implant retrieval analysis of joint arthroplasties, with particular emphasis on the biological factors that affect the clinical performance of implants. Campbell is expected to testify next for the defendants.