March 29, 2016 — A federal jury in Texas has awarded $498 million to five people who were injured by a metal-on-metal hip replacement made by DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Lawsuits claim the Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System with the “Ultamet” cobalt-chromium liner is defective. After a 2-month trial and one week of deliberation, jurors in Dallas agreed that the implant was defective and its manufacturers failed to warn about potential risks.
The metal-on-metal hip replacement allegedly releases toxic metal debris and causes metallosis, tissue inflammation, bone erosion, chronic pain, and other complications that require early revision surgery.
The verdict includes $140 million in compensatory damages for the five plaintiffs, plus $240 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson and another $120 million against DePuy Orthopedics.
Both defendants plan to immediately appeal the verdict, a spokeswoman told Mass Device. Lawyers for defendants also said punitive damages could be slashed as low as $10 million under state law in Texas capping punitive damages. The jury rejected arguments that the punitive damage cap should not apply due to the “commercial bribery” exception, according to Law360. Lawyers said one of the surgeons was a highly-paid consultant of DePuy.
It was the second so-called “bellwether” trial out of more than 8,200 lawsuits currently pending in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2244) under U.S. District Judge James Kinkeade. The first ended in a defense verdict when a jury unanimously cleared DePuy of wrongdoing in October 2014.
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