Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics have been hit with more than 8,400 lawsuits over the allegedly defective metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants, which have been consolidated in Texas federal court. On Thursday, December 1, 2016, a federal jury awarded six plaintiffs from California more than $30 million in actual damages and more than $1 billion in punitive damages in the litigation’s third bellwether trial. Most recently in March, the second bellwether trial returned a jury verdict of $500 million, which was scaled back to $151 million.
The message has become increasingly clear. While Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) won the first bellwether trial in 2014, the second and third trials have more jurors finding that J&J and DePuy were negligent in designing the implant; failed to warn physicians and patients regarding the product; failed to recall it; and intentionally misrepresented the product's effectiveness to patients and their doctors.
Lead attorney Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm states, "once again, a jury has listened to the testimony of both sides and returned a verdict affirming what we've known all along: a responsible company would settle these cases and take care of their injured consumers, rather than forcing them through expensive and vexatious litigation just to delay justice…the jury spoke loud and clear, and I hope J&J will finally listen."
However, both J&J and DePuy have denied any wrongdoing and have indicated that they will appeal this verdict to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. According to John Beisner, Johnson & Johnson’s attorney, “today’s verdict provides no guidance on the merits of the overall Pinnacle litigation because the court’s rulings precluded a fair presentation to the jury.”
The next Bellwether trial is scheduled for September 2017.
This MDL is: IN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, 3:11-md-02244-K (N.D. TX)
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