On May 24, 2016, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) requested Judge Ed Kinkeade of the Northern District of Texas to hold all future trials in the multidistrict litigation arising from its DePuy Pinnacle hip devices until certain post-trial motions were ruled upon in the “Aoki cases”—decided just one week prior.
In the Aoki cases, which were designated as the second bellwether trial in the MDL, a jury awarded $498 million to five plaintiffs who suffered debilitating injuries as a result of receiving metal-on- metal hip implants from J&J’s subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.
In response to the large verdict, J&J filed a motion to stay any additional trials in the MDL until a resolution was reached on appeal of the Aoki cases on several issues that the company contends, “are likely to have far-reaching implications for how cases in [the] MDL proceeding are tried.”
Specifically, in the memorandum supporting the motion, J&J claimed that several pieces of critical evidence produced by the plaintiffs in the Aoki cases were “extremely prejudicial and inflammatory,” including “references to Saddam Hussein’s ‘henchmen,’ unsupported speculation that plaintiffs might develop cancer as a result of their Pinnacle implants, and references to hearsay statements in a book entitled Doubt Is Their Product.” Further, the company asserted that there were significant legal matters that are likely to reoccur in future proceedings, such as “the propriety of consolidating dissimilar cases for trial; the refusal to grant defendants’ request to bifurcate the question of the amount of exemplary damages; and federal preemption issues raised by plaintiffs’ uniquely broad theory that all metal-on- metal hip implants are inherently defective.”
According to the motion, the Court has asked the parties to suggest cases for the next bellwether trial set for September 2016, which J&J is attempting to postpone. The MDL is: In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability
Litigation, No. 3:11-md- 02244 (N.D. TX.)
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