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$1B DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant Verdict Against J&J

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Santa Clara, CAA jury in Dallas has awarded $1 billion to six plaintiffs who are suing Johnson & Johnson (J&J) alleging the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant made by the company’s subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., was defective and has caused them adverse health effects and subsequent surgeries to remove the device.

The jury reportedly deliberated for less than a day before concluding that J&J deliberately mislead not only the plaintiffs but also their doctors as to the safety of the Pinnacle hip implant. The trial, which involved several lawsuits combined in a multidistrict litigation (MDL), began on October 3. According to an attorney for the plaintiffs, the evidence speaks for itself.

J&J is currently facing 8,500 similar lawsuits brought together in an MDL in federal court in Dallas. All the plaintiffs allege the company failed to adequately warn of the side effects associated with the hip implant.

The DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant has an unreasonably high failure rate. The lawsuits filed against DePuy, claim the metal-on-metal design allows metal debris to come loose from the device, ultimately being absorbed by the patient's surrounding tissue.

Although J&J won the first case in 2014, in March of this year another federal jury in Dallas awarded $502 million to five plaintiffs whose suits were combined. The award was later reduced to $150 million under Texas law. However, because this latest set of lawsuits was tried under California law, the award won’t be subject to a punitive damages cap.

Evidence presented in court showed J&J paid kickbacks to surgeons to promote the device, even though the company was aware that the implant was associated with greater risks than other similar devices.

DePuy stopped selling the metal-on-metal Pinnacle devices in 2013 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration strengthened its artificial hip regulations.

Johnson & Johnson is planning post-trial motions.

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