A federal jury in Dallas on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopedics unit to pay $247 million to six patients who said they were injured by defective Pinnacle hip implants.
Delivering a third straight win to patients, the jury found that the metal-on-metal hip implants were defectively designed and that the companies failed to warn consumers about the risks.
Six New York residents implanted with the devices said they experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries they blamed on design flaws.
J&J, which faces more than 9,700 Pinnacle lawsuits in state and federal courts across the United States, said in a statement it would immediately begin the appeal process.
A DePuy spokeswoman said the company was still “committed to the long-term defense of the allegations in these lawsuits,” adding that the metal-on-metal hip implants were backed by a strong record of clinical data showing they were effective.
Plaintiffs claimed the companies falsely promoted the device, most commonly used to treat joint failure caused by osteoarthritis, by saying it lasted longer than similar implants that include ceramic or plastic materials.
“We thank this jury for sending a very strong message about the responsibility the defendants have to take care of their consumers,” Mark Lanier, who represented the New York patients, said in a statement.
Thursday’s verdict came in the fourth test trial over the devices in Dallas federal court, where some 9,000 of the cases are pending. Test cases have been selected for trial, and their outcomes will help gauge the value of the remaining claims and inform potential settlement talks.
J&J won the first Pinnacle test trial in 2014, but subsequent juries determined the companies to be liable.
A jury in March 2016 awarded five Texas plaintiffs $500 million in damages. That award was later cut to $150 million.
J&J and DePuy were also found liable at a trial in March, during which a jury awarded six California patients $1 billion – a verdict that was later reduced to $543 million.
DePuy ceased selling the metal-on-metal Pinnacle devices in 2013 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration strengthened its artificial hip regulations.
PINNACLE HIP REPLACEMENT PROBLEMS
The Pinnacle hip replacement is a total hip replacement system manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000, the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Acetabular Cup System was the predecessor to the now recalled DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement is a total hip arthroplasty intended to provide increased mobility while reducing pain in patients with damaged hip joints.
Like patients who received ASR hip replacements, it appears that those who received the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement also face an increased risk of hip failure. This is because the two hip replacement systems had similar design defects, which can lead to severe pain, dislocation of the hip implant and hip replacement failure.
Although the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement implants were not part of the August 2010 ASR hip recall, they are also metal-on-metal devices, and therefore carry many of the adverse side effects commonly experienced by ASR hip implant recipients. Due to the defective design associated with metal-on-metal implants, as with the ASR hip systems, many recipients of DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement implants have had to undergo painful revision surgeries.
DEPUY PINNACLE HIP REPLACEMENT COMPLICATIONS
Lawsuits involving the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant alleged that the all-metal version is similar in design to DePuy’s ASR hip implant, another metal-on-metal device that was recalled in August 2010. The lawsuits claimed that the all-metal version of the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant caused patients to suffer the same types of complications that prompted the ASR Hip Implant recall, including:
- Hip pain
- DePuy Pinnacle failure
- Elevated metallic levels
- Need for a second hip replacement surgery
- Hip implant loosening
- Difficulty walking or standing
- Premature failure of the implant requiring revision surgery
Additionally, patients who received the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement implants should be aware of symptoms associated with metal toxicity, or metallosis. The effects of metallosis can manifest outside of the hip region. Therefore, individuals who received a DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement should be mindful of any changes in their overall health and pay close attention to any symptoms related to their:
- Heart (chest pain, shortness of breath)
- Nerves (numbness, weakness, change in vision or hearing)
- Thyroid (fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain)
- Kidney (change in urination habits)