It has taken over four years of litigation to arrive at these settlements – a long time for injured patients. Some patients who required revision surgery to replace the failed device could barely walk, and that comes with its own set of problems. And along with each revision surgery, the chances of complications increase, including infection. The more seriously injured will be paid higher settlement amounts.
This latest settlement dates back to February of this year, when J&J prepared to face claims in federal court in Dallas by five Pinnacle hip patients who blamed the devices for their injuries, including metallosis, or metal poisoning, said Mark Lanier, one of the plaintiff’s leading lawyers.
In January, J&J-- the world’s largest independent biotech company-- agreed to settle 46 state attorneys generals’ claims for $120 million. They accused the company of making deceptive marketing claims about the hips’ durability. J&J argued that 99.2 percent of the metal-on-metal hips held up for three years, but European health regulators put the rate at approximately seven percent.
DePuy Pinnacle Problems
Thousands of patients implanted with the DePuy Pinnacle hip reported to the FDA problems soon after it was approved, including unexplained hip pain and hip implant failure. They claimed the metal-on-metal design allowed metal debris to come loose from the device, which was ultimately absorbed by the patient's surrounding tissue. As well, many patients said they developed metallosis. The metallic debris could also be absorbed into the patient's bloodstream and result in high levels of metals, including cobalt and chromium.
Despite reports of the Pinnacle failure and about 57 lawsuits filed against the manufacturer, the FDA in 2011 approved a new Pinnacle device.
DePuy stopped selling the metal-on-metal Pinnacle devices in 2013 after the FDA strengthened its artificial hip regulations, but that was too late for many hip replacement recipients.
DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuits Pending
READ MORE DEPUY PINNACLE LEGAL NEWS
The Pinnacle case is In Re DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, 11-md-2244, U.S District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).