Five of the DePuy Orthopaedics Pinnacle hip injury device lawsuits, which were among the cases consolidated in the Northern District of Texas litigation, are being tried in one bellwether trial. The claims in the five cases are representative of the claims in the Pinnacle hip litigation.
The trial now in its fourth week in Dallas, Texas may play a critical role in a number of injury claims brought by people implanted with the DePuy Orthopaedics’ Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement device. The outcome of this trial could also influence whether DePuy enters a settlement program for Pinnacle injury claims. In fact, in 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics established a program to settle injury claims for its ASR metal-on-metal hip implant.
Recipients of Pinnacle hips allege that the implants have caused a number of injuries, including difficulty standing or walking; loosening of the implant; severe pain that spreads to the groin and/or back; tissue death or soft tissue damage; elevated levels of cobalt and chromium ions; and bone loss or damage. Many patients have needed revision surgery to correct or replace the implant metal implant.
Metal-on-metal hip implants have had higher failure rates and higher rates of revision surgery than hip replacement devices made of other materials. The UK Daily Telegraph recently reported that there is evidence that DePuy Orthopaedics was aware of problems with the Pinnacle hip dating back to 2008.
The most recent witness to take the stand in the bellwether trial was Dr. Bernard Morrey, a professor at the Mayo Clinic for 30 years. He has been the implant surgeon to many people who have access to the most talented surgeons in the nation, including former President George H.W. Bush, first lady Barbara Bush, Reverend Billy Graham, and golfers Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Dr. Morrey has extensive first-hand knowledge about the performance of different hip implants, the clinical results obtained, and the body’s responses to metal debris and ions generated by metal-on-metal devices. Dr. Morrey concluded that metal-on-poly devices are safer than metal-on-metal hips. He told the jury he has never used metal-on-metal devices for his patients.