July 7, 2016 — MassDevice reports that a federal judge in Texas has slashed an eye-popping $500 million jury verdict over a metal-on-metal hip implant to just $150 million under state laws capping punitive damages.
The damages were awarded to five people and three spouses who were injured by the Pinnacle hip implant made by Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit.
After a two-month trial, jurors found that the Ultamet metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip implant were defective and DePuy failed to warn about the risks.
The plaintiffs were collectively awarded $140 million in compensation, plus $360 million in punitive damages. U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade in the Northern District of Texas reduced the punitive damage verdict to about $10 million, bringing the total to $150 million.
Judge Kinkease refused to give DePuy a chance for a “do-over” in a new trial. The company had argued that jurors were biased by irrelevant and unfair evidence, according to Reuters.
Judge Kinkeade also refused to delay an upcoming trial to give the company time to appeal. He wrote:
“This MDL has already been pending for 5 years. The representative plaintiffs in the consolidated bellwether trial this year averaged 68 years old. The court believes that a stay would unduly prejudice plaintiffs and delay resolution of this matter to the detriment of all parties.”
The trial is set for September 6 and involves seven people who were injured by the Pinnacle. It will be the third “bellwether” trial in a consolidated Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2244) that involves about 8,400 lawsuits.
The lawsuit is In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 3:11-md-02244.
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