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February 7, 2019

Hip Settlement Expansion Should Resolve Most DePuy Implant Lawsuits

The DePuy Pinnacle hip settlement reached late this past year, covering approximately 3,000 claims, is being expanded to resolve most of the litigation still pending against the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary over knowingly selling defective metal hip implants.

Bloomberg News reported Monday that J&J’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit has reached a settlement agreement that should resolve most of the remaining Pinnacle hip litigation in the U.S.

So far, no further details on this latest development are available. However, J&J agreed to a $120 million hip settlement to resolve state attorneys general claims, accusing the manufacturer of employing deceptive marketing methods by failing to warn patients and the medical community about the metal-on-metal hips’ significant risks.

J&J has yet to acknowledge or comment on this latest hip settlement. But a Texas federal court dismissed a jury mid-trial, apparently in relation to the settlement agreement.

Currently, there are more than 10,000 DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits from individuals across the country who suffered painfully debilitating complications from the defective metal-on-metal implants. Due to striking similarities in cases pending in the federal court system, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated the litigation in 2011. The JPML put District Judge Ed Kinkeade in charge of the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Texas.

As part of the MDL’s pretrial proceedings, the federal court put numerous bellwether cases before juries in recent years. Several of these test trials resulted in staggering verdicts for the plaintiffs with awards reaching upwards of several hundred million dollars.

Metal Hip Judgement hip settlement

Hip Settlement Background

Despite several juries reaching similar considerable verdicts due to the substantial evidence that the companies clearly knew the hips were dangerous but continued to aggressively market the implants as safe to preserve profits, J&J had previously held that it would not settle the DePuy Pinnacle hip cases, indicating it fully intended to continue defending the litigation. However, the company’s position has clearly changed.

Late this past year, a jury ordered J&J to pay six plaintiffs a $247 million verdict. Prior to this award, other juries returned with a $500 million verdict in March 2016 and a $1 billion verdict in December 2016. The court later reduced the first verdict to $151 million and the second to $500 million under Texas state damage caps. However, the massive verdicts provided a clear signal on how juries were likely to respond to similar trial cases in the future.

Previously, in a similar litigation, J&J agreed to pay more than $2.4 billion to settle lawsuits over its defective DePuy ASR metal hip line. This recalled hip system was based on the DePuy Pinnacle metal hip’s design.

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