Depuy Pinnacle Hip Litigation – Update

By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

Published on May 29, 2018

Defective Hip Replacement Lawsuits

Five plaintiffs were awarded a total of $502 million dollars in the 2nd test (bellwether) case to go to trial against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) relating to its Depuy Pinnacle hip implants, in January of 2016,  J&J appealed the verdict, which the trial judge reduced to $151 million dollars.  The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument on December 7, 2017, and issued their opinion  in April 2018. The Fifth Circuit overturned the entire verdict and remanded the case back to the Northern District of Texas and Judge Ed Kinkeade for a new trial.

While this ruling may be worrying to people who have been waiting for a long time with pending Pinnacle Hip claims, we believe the ruling confirmed  that the Plaintiffs prevailed on the merits and on nearly every underlying substantive legal issue set forth in J&J’s appeal.  The 5th Circuit focused on rulings specific to those cases on trial and held that Judge Kinkeade erred in allowing Plaintiffs’ lawyers to present certain inflammatory character evidence against J&J.  The 5th Circuit ruled that allowing that inflammatory evidence before the jury tainted the verdict, requiring a new trial for each of the five plaintiffs.

Despite the disappointing remand for a new trial, the Fifth Circuit’s decision contains excellent rulings in many key areas. Additionally, the character evidence the 5th Circuit ruled should not have been presented to the jury has not been allowed into evidence in any of the subsequent bellwether trials, and each of those resulted in large jury verdicts.  While we disagree with the 5th Circuit’s ruling, we agree with the decision of Plaintiffs’ counsel in this matter not to appeal the ruling and to move forward with a new trial as soon as possible.

The 5th Circuit is scheduled to hear oral argument next month relating to the September 2016 California bellwether trial which resulted in a $1 billion dollar verdict.   In the meantime, if you have a failed metal-on-metal hip implant made by Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics, Biomet, Stryker Orthopaedics, Wright Conserve, or Zimmer Holdings, you may be eligible to file a claim for damages. You may be compensated for medical expenses from replacement, money damages for the pain, suffering, physical injuries,and any other losses, such as lost income,  that you suffered as a result of your injuries.  Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP online or call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a specialist in Massachusetts drug and medical device litigation. The consultation is completely confidential. Seek legal advice immediately. Courts apply strict time limits to all personal injury cases.

J&J Ordered To Pay $1 Billion in Hip Implant Case

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By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

A jury in Dallas federal court ordered Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit to pay more than $1 billion dollars to six Pinnacle hip recipients who suffered serious medical complications from their DePuy Pinnacle hip implants. The jury found that the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hips were defectively designed and that J&J and DePuy failed to warn patients and doctors about the risks.

The jury awarded more than $30 million dollars in actual damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and more than $1 billion dollars in punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson reportedly rejected a $1.8 million dollar offer to settle before the trial. According to Bloomberg, this is the third largest verdict in 2016.

The plaintiffs, six Californians, presented evidence that their Pinnacle hip implants caused elevated metal levels in their bodies which resulted in bone erosion, tissue death, and other injuries they attributed to defective design. Pinnacle implants utilize a metal head and a metal socket, instead of safer ceramic or polyethylene components. The metal components rub against each other, deteriorating within the body and giving off metal fragments as they corrode, which can cause bone and tissue to deteriorate over time. Each plaintiff was required to have their implant surgically removed and replaced. J&J and DePuy marketed the metal-on-metal implants as a safer, longer-lasting design.

This was the third test case (“bellwether”) in the Pinnacle hip implant litigation. The previous case resulted in a $500 million verdict for five plaintiffs. Johnson & Johnson won the first bellwether case.

Almost 9,000 Pinnacle hip implant lawsuits are still pending against Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit. The company announced plans to appeal the verdict, denying all liability.

If you have a failed metal-on-metal hip implant, whether from Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics, or those manufactured by Biomet, Stryker Orthopaedics, Wright Conserve, or Zimmer Holdings, you may be eligible to file a claim. You may be compensated for lost income, medical expenses from replacement, money damages for the pain, suffering, physical injuries,and any other losses you suffered as a result of your injuries.  Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP online or call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a specialist in Massachusetts drug and medical device litigation. The consultation is completely confidential. Do not delay seeking legal advice. Courts apply strict time limits to all civil cases.

J&J DePuy Ordered To Pay $502 Million for Pinnacle Hips

By: Marilyn McGoldrick, Esq.

Posted on March 18, 2016

A federal jury awarded over $500 million dollars to 5 patients who claimed injuries from their Johnson & Johnson DePuy Pinnacle metal hip implants. The verdict was delivered after a week of deliberation following two months of trial. The cases were consolidated for trial by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who oversees the Pinnacle multi-district litigation in Dallas, Texas.

The jury awarded $142 million in actual damages to the five plaintiffs, Texas residents Margaret Aoki, Jay Christopher, Donald Greer, Richard Klusmann, and Robert Peterson. The jury awarded $360 million in punitive damages. The verdict is the second largest verdict in the United States this year.

Each plaintiff was implanted with DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants (Ultamet Liner) that failed and had to be surgically removed and replaced. They presented evidence that they experienced leaching of cobalt & chromium metals into their bloodstreams, and suffered metallosis, tissue necrosis, severe pain and inflammation of surrounding tissue, bone erosion, and other problems.

The jury found that the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants were defective, and that Johnson & Johnson knew about the defects but failed to warn doctors and patients of the risks. The jury heard that Johnson & Johnson aggressively marketed the Pinnacle hips as long-lasting, durable, and safe. Evidence was presented that J&J paid bribes and kickbacks overseas, and that J&J marketing and promotion in the U.S. included paying doctors millions of dollars to promote the hips, in the process misleading doctors and patients about the safety of the devices.

This was the second federal bellwether trial (test trial) involving the Pinnacle hip implants. The first ended in a defense verdict in 2014.More than 8,000 cases remain consolidated in federal court in Texas against Johnson & Johnson for the Pinnacle hip implants; the next bellwether trial is scheduled for the fall. Johnson & Johnson has announced it will appeal this verdict.

If you received a defective metal-on-metal hip implant,including those manufactured by Biomet, Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics, Stryker Orthopaedics, Wright Conserve, or Zimmer Holdings, you may be eligible to file a claim for money damages for the pain, suffering, physical injuries, lost income, medical expenses from replacement, and any other losses you suffered as a result of your injuries.  Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP online or call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-888-341-1405 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts drug and medical device litigation. The consultation is free and completely confidential. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case. Like all legal cases, hip implant claims have short, strictly enforced time limits, and you should seek legal advice immediately.

Four Reasons To Be Optimistic About Transvaginal Mesh Litigation

By Marilyn  T. McGoldrick, Esq.

Published on Aug 22, 2014

justice2Boston Scientific won a defense verdict in the first transvaginal mesh (TVM) case to go to trial in Middlesex Superior Court. The jury ruled that plaintiff Diane Albright had not proved that her Pinnacle vaginal mesh device was defectively designed, or that it lacked adequate warnings. While Boston Scientific won this round, we believe that there are four reasons to believe that TVM cases going forward will be won by the plaintiffs.

1. This plaintiff never had her mesh implant removed.

She hadn’t undergone revision surgery – the device was not removed from her body despite the pain it had caused her since implantation in 2010. One of the plaintiff’s attorneys, Jonathon D. Orent, commented “Ms. Albright’s doctors ultimately concluded that it would be more dangerous for her to have surgery to try and remove the mesh. I think the jury had difficulty in identifying with her injuries because of her doctors’ decision not to pursue aggressive surgery.”

2. This case was tried using Ohio law.

Because Ms. Albright lived in Ohio and had the Pinnacle mesh device surgically implanted in the state of Ohio, Ohio law controlled the result. The Ohio Product Liability Act, passed in 2005, requires a different, more difficult burden of proof than would be required under common law, and limits the theories under which a plaintiff can pursue a claim against a product manufacturer.

3. This plaintiff didn’t argue polyproplyene isn’t fit for human implantation

The plaintiff’s attorneys argued that the Pinnacle transvaginal mesh device was defective because it contained too much polypropylene, not that the polypropylene shouldn’t have been used at all. The plaintiffs’ lawyer’s decision to argue the case this way was likely because the plaintiff could not have the device removed.  Despite the fact that the decision not to remove the device was based on the advice of her doctors, jurors may have concluded that if it shouldn’t have been used at all, wouldn’t she have had it removed?

4. This was a case the defense picked.

Finally, this case was selected as a bellwether trial by Boston Scientific precisely because they believed it was a weak case that they could win. Other bellwether trials of cases selected by plaintiffs’ counsel will likely lead to very different outcomes.

Thornton Law Firm’s Drug and Medical Device lawyers represent women in transvaginal mesh claims against Boston Scientific Corp., as well as Caldera, C.R. Bard, Inc., Ethicon (subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) and Sofradim/Covidien. If you have a transvaginal mesh implant and have suffered complications including pain, mesh erosion, mesh contraction, additional surgeries, urinary problems, severe pelvic pain, infection, bleeding, vaginal tightening or shortening, painful sexual intercourse, inability to engage in sexual intercourse, or organ perforation, and would like a free, confidential evaluation of your legal claim, please tell us your story here or call us at our toll free number 888-341-1405.

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