Parker Waichman LLP

Jury Orders DePuy to Pay $1 Billion in Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Case

A Dallas jury has returned a verdict of over $1 billion against DePuy Orthopaedics regarding its metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implant. Parker Waichman LLP represented three of the six plaintiffs, working alongside The Lanier Law Firm and Neblett Beard & Arsenault.


New York, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/05/2016 --Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of victims injured by defective drugs and medical devices, is proud to have represented plaintiffs in the recent trial regarding DePuy Orthopaedics' Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant. The firm comments that a Dallas jury has returned a verdict of over $1.04 billion. A verdict was returned for each of the six plaintiffs. Parker Waichman represented three of the plaintiffs in conjunction with the distinguished firm of Neblett Beard & Arsenault. The firm also proudly worked alongside The Lanier Law Firm. The multidistrict litigation (MDL) case is In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:11-md-02244, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

This was the third DePuy Pinnacle bellwether trial in the federal MDL. The trial began on October 3, 2016, and lasted for about 11 weeks. As with other metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuits, plaintiffs alleged that the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement caused serious injuries when the device's metal socket rubs against the metal ball head, releasing metallic debris into the bloodstream and nearby tissues. It was alleged that DePuy and parent company Johnson & Johnson knew about these risks, but continued to market the Pinnacle Ultamet hip implant nonetheless. The companies also allegedly paid illegal kickbacks to surgeons to encourage use of their metal-on-metal hip replacement. It was also alleged that DePuy promoted its Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant as being more durable than ceramic or plastic devices.

In closing arguments, jurors heard that DePuy misrepresented the safety of the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant while placing patients at risk. The $1.041 billion verdict was comprised of $32 million in compensatory damage, and the remainder of the award was in punitive damages. Patients were unwittingly used as guinea pigs for the metal-on-metal device, jurors were told. Jurors also heard that DePuy and J&J spent nearly $200 million on royalty payments to doctors who helped design the device.

On December 1, 2016, the jury found DePuy and J&J liable for negligent and defective design, negligent failure to warn, strict liability failure to warn, failure to recall, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, and fraudulent concealment. The jury also found J&J liable for aiding and abetting DePuy in each of the seven causes of action, and for conspiring on the six other claims. DePuy was found to have acted with malice or fraud. The jury found that the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement was defectively designed and that DePuy and J&J failed to adequately warn patients about the risks.

"Our firm is proud to have represented plaintiffs in the DePuy Pinnacle trial," said Keith Gitman, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman. "This verdict is a huge victory for Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant plaintiffs; the jury has not only obtained justice for the plaintiffs, they have sent a strong message that companies will be held liable for putting patients at risk."

There are over 8,000 similar lawsuits filed over the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement. Plaintiffs in the Pinnacle hip implant litigation allege that the devices led to injuries and complications, including pain; bone damage; inflammation; metal poisoning (metallosis); tissue death; and, ultimately, the need for early revision surgery, in which the hip implant is removed. Parker Waichman notes that metal-on-metal hip implants, in general, have come under scrutiny because they are associated with higher rates of early revision. Although hip implants are expected to last at least a decade, some metal-on-metal hip implant recipients underwent revision surgery in just a few years, allegedly due to the metal-on-metal design of the device.

Parker Waichman notes that a previous bellwether case yielded a $502 million verdict in favor of the plaintiffs. The award was later reduced to roughly $150 million due to a Texas law that places a cap on punitive damages. No such damages cap existed for the plaintiffs in the third trial, under California law.

The next DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant bellwether trial is slated to begin in September 2017. Parker Waichman and the firm of Neblett Beard & Arsenault are proudly representing five of the ten plaintiffs, who are all expected to be from New York.

Parker Waichman continues to offer free legal consultations to victims of injuries allegedly caused by metal-on-metal hip implants. For questions concerning premature failure of, or other health problems associated with, a metal-on-metal hip implant, please contact the firm at its Defective Hip Implant page at Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO 800-529-4636.