A Texas jury recently awarded five plaintiffs $502 million for injuries
related to Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Pinnacle hip implants.
The jury award included $142 million in actual damages and $360 million
in punitive damages.
The plaintiffs alleged that the
medical devices were defectively designed and lacked proper warnings. As we have previously discussed on this San
Diego Injury Blog, there are thousands of ongoing lawsuits involving metal-on-metal
hip implants in courts across the country.
Metal-on-metal replacement joints have been shown to fail at higher rates
than other types, prompting warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) and several product recalls. The risk for patients is that as the
device breaks down, tiny metal particles may enter into the space around
the implant, harming the surrounding tissue. Some of the metal ions from
the metal implant or from the metal particles may even get into the bloodstream
and cause illnesses in other parts of the body, including the heart, nervous
system, and thyroid gland.
In the latest case, all of the plaintiffs required surgical removal of
the Pinnacle hip implants after chromium and cobalt particles from the
device entered their bloodstream. They maintained that Johnson & Johnson
was aware of the serious complications and continued to sell its hip implants.
The suits also alleged that the device maker misled doctors and consumers
about the safety of the implants.
Johnson & Johnson removed the Pinnacle hip implants from the market
in 2013 after the FDA strengthened its regulations for metal-on-metal
implants. However, approximately 170,000 patients were already implanted
with the devices.
Bloomberg reported, the case marks Johnson & Johnson’s first loss over the artificial
hip product. The company faces approximately 8,000 lawsuits.
If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a defective
metal-on-metal hip implant or other medical device, you may be entitled
to compensation, including reimbursement of lost wages and medical bills
and damages for pain and suffering. To discuss your claim, please contact
a San Diego medical product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert
Vaage for a free consultation.