Federal Jury Hits J&J with $247 Million Verdict in Hip Implant Trial
A federal jury in Dallas has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopedics, to pay $247 million to six patients who said they suffered injuries as a result of receiving defective Pinnacle hip implants. According to a Reuters news report, this was a third straight win for patients against the pharmaceutical giant, whose metal-on-metal hip implants have resulted in premature failures.
In Dallas, jurors found that the hip implants were defectively designed and that J&J and DePuy failed to warn consumers about the risks involved with receiving these implants. Six New York residents who were implanted with the devices said they experienced a number of severe side effects including tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries, which they said were triggered by design flaws.
Thousands of Pending Lawsuits
J&J, which faces more than 9,700 Pinnacle lawsuits in state and federal courts nationwide, said in a statement that it would appeal the jury verdict. DePuy has also issued a statement saying that they are committed to defending these product liability lawsuits and that their metal hip implants are backed by a “strong record of clinical data” showing safety and effectiveness.
However, as product liability lawyers who have handled these types of case, we know that to be false. As plaintiffs in this case claimed, our clients have noted that J&J and DePuy misled consumers by saying that it lasted longer than similar implants that are made with ceramic or plastic.
Severe Side Effects
Recent articles in The New York Times cited internal memos and documents that came out during previous trials that J&J executives in fact knew years before they recalled metal implants in 2010 that they had a critical design flaw. However, the company hid that information from physicians and patients. The company had received complaints from doctors about the device.
The metal-on-metal implants failed within a couple of years as they shed large quantities of metal debris causing serious health complications in patients including pain and inflammation, hip dislocation, difficulty with walking or standing and muscle atrophy due to immobility.
In addition, these metal hip implants caused serious adverse events such as metallosis as the metal fragments caused blood toxicity; bone and tissue death from the toxicity; severe bone damage; formation of tumor-like deposits affecting surrounding joints; and bone fractures caused by the weakening of bones surrounding the hip implant. Many victims have required revision surgery to remove and replace the implant resulting in additional medical costs, lost income and loss of mobility.
We are pleased that the Dallas jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in this case and hope that thousands of others who are awaiting their day in court get the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve.