On December 1, 2016 a jury in Dallas Texas awarded six plaintiffs more than $1 billion in lawsuits which claimed that Johnson & Johnson’s Depuy division failed to warn that their implants were at risk of failure and were defective.
This comes as the second award against J&J in artificial hip litigation.
“I am pleased to see the punitive damages being assessed on J&J in these cases” stated attorney Laurence P. Banville. “These are the largest punitive damages assessed on a company in the United States this year, and hopefully it will send a clear message to pharmaceutical companies out there that if you put profit above safety, there will be accountability and penalties”, he continued.
What is the problem with J&J’s Pinnacle/Depuy hip implants?
According to the lawsuits filed, plaintiffs allege that the Depuy hip implants caused chromium and cobalt to infiltrate into their bloodstreams, resulting in cobalt poisoning and a failure of the entire hip implant itself. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit all had to have their hip implants removed. The allegations in summary were:
- J&J were aware that a metal-on-metal implants would fail, but pushed them to market anyway
- J&J ignored studies that suggested such hip implants would cause deterioration in tissue and bone
- J&J rushed Depuy hip implants to market without adequate safety testing
There are currently 8,900 lawsuits filed against J&J with similar allegations with respect to Depuy hip implants all around the country. The majority of these lawsuits are consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade. Judge Kinkeade is scheduled to hear more bellwether trials in September 2017, however attorneys for defendant J&J have requested a stay on such proceedings until their appeal of the current verdict has been resolved, according to Bloomberg news.
Depuy Hip Implants Cases To Settle?
With this billion dollar verdict, many attorneys are calling on J&J to settle these cases now or risk further litigation costs and more large plaintiff verdicts in the future. J&J have denied liability in these cases and according to Fortune.com, will appeal the decision to the Appeals Court. There has been no settlement of these cases to date, however our reporters will be keeping an eye on things in the coming months and will keep our readers updated on how this litigation progresses.