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Dallas jury issues $1 billion verdict in defective hip replacement case

By Jessica Surber
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

defective hip replacementThe verdicts against the manufacturers of defective hip replacement systems continue to pile up – and this latest one was a big hit to Johnson & Johnson, the maker of the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system.

The jury issued a $1.04 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson, reports Bloomberg News, with $30 million earmarked for six plaintiffs jointly suing the company in this case and the rest as a punitive judgement against the company. The case was in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas division, where all of the DePuy Pinnacle cases are being handled.

Another case earlier this year saw a $502 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson to resolve five cases from plaintiffs. A judge later cut the verdict to $150 million, Bloomberg reports.

Background on the defective hip replacements

Johnson & Johnson pulled the Pinnacle hip replacements off the market in 2013. The Pinnacle hip replacements were part of a group of artificial hips designed with metal components. Over time, the metal-on-metal hip replacement parts rubbed against each other and caused patients problems. Some patients had to have another round of surgery – or even multiple surgeries – to remove the defective devices and replace them with another product.

In some cases, patients suffered from metallosis, which is metal poisoning – the result of the metal components rubbing against each other and gradually releasing tiny bits of metal into the patient’s blood stream. Other patients suffered debilitating pain from the failing hip replacements and were unable to walk comfortably.

Johnson & Johnson isn’t done with these lawsuits. There are thousands more still pending. Only a few dozen cases involving the Pinnacle hip replacement have made their way through the courts. Johnson & Johnson settled cases involving its ASR hip replacements, which the company said had a failure rate of 12 percent over five years.

Johnson & Johnson knew about problems

The metal-on-metal hip implants made by Johnson & Johnson were problematic from the start, but evidence has indicated the company knew of the problems but rushed the product to market quickly while ignoring design flaws. The company did recall some of the devices and removed the rest from the market – but it was too late for some patients who had already had the devices implanted.

Recent studies indicate that medical products are not screened thoroughly enough before going to market. You can read more about that here.

If you or someone you love has suffered because of a faulty hip implant, please contact your physician if you have not sought help already. Please also seek advice from an experience attorney. If you’d like legal advice about your situation, please contact me, attorney Jessica Surber, at (270) 781-6500 or jrsurber@elpolaw.com. An initial consultation is free.

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