Medical device manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopedics division were again found liable for injuries stemming from the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant. A Texas jury determined the company should pay $1.041 billion to the six plaintiffs whose cases were heard over the last two months.
The jury in the third bellwether trial for the Pinnacle hip device took only two days to render its verdict. Included in this figure is approximately $32 million dollars in compensatory damages and a whopping $1.009 billion in punitive damages.
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In addition to design defects, negligence, and failure to warn of the problems associated with the device, the companies were found liable on multiple charges of conspiracy related to its representations about the device.
In 2013, the Pinnacle metal device was removed from the market after years of studies showed that metal-on-metal devices had a higher failure rate and could cause excessive tissue damage from metal wear.
It is expected that the companies will appeal the verdict, as they have done in the second Pinnacle bellwether case tried in early 2016. That appeal is still pending.
The verdict gives additional hope to thousands of people who received the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant and subsequently suffered from pain and failure of the device. Although attorneys for Johnson & Johnson and DePuy have vowed to continue defending the companies’ actions related to the metal Pinnacle hip devices, in 2013 they entered into a settlement agreement on the ASR metal-on-metal hip implant to resolve claims of injured people.
Just last month another orthopedic device manufacturer, Smith & Nephew, Inc. USA initiated a “voluntary market removal” of the modular neck component of its SMF™ and Modular REDAPT™ Revision Femoral Hip Systems due to high failure rates. Injuries associated with metallosis have been reported with the Smith & Nephew devices as well.
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