The third bellwether trial involving an all-metal version of DePuy Orthopedics’ Pinnacle Hip Replacement System is now underway in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas. The consolidated trial involves seven Pinnacle hip lawsuits that were filed on behalf of patients who suffered metallosis, tissue inflammation, and bone damage allegedly due to their hip implant’s dangerously defective design.

Pinnacle Hip Litigation

The Northern District of Texas is the site of a multidistrict litigation that includes more than 8,500 lawsuits involving a Pinnacle hip configuration using the Ultamet liner. Plaintiffs claim that the metal-on-metal design created by this configuration allows dangerous amounts of toxic metal to leach into the surrounding tissue and blood stream, leading to premature hip failure and a host of other dangerous complications.

The litigation’s bellwether trials are intended to provide insight into how juries might decide other Pinnacle cases. The second such trial ended in March, with $140 million in compensatory damages and $360 million in punitive damages awarded to five plaintiffs. However, in July, the Court reduced punitive damages to $10 million, so as to comply with the Texas cap on such awards.

The first Pinnacle hip trial ended in October 2015 with a decision favoring the defense.

Unlike the previous trials, California law will govern the proceeding now underway in Texas. As such, any jury decision in favor of the plaintiffs won’t be subject to a punitive damage cap.

According to a report from Law360.com, opening statements in the third trial began on October 3rd. During their presentation, Pinnacle hip attorneys for the plaintiffs accused Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit of evading standard regulatory review and using deceptive means to convince doctors that the dangerously designed hip implant was safe.

DePuy Ends Metal-on-Metal Hip Sales

In January 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned that metal-on-metal hips were more likely to fail earlier than those made of other materials. In May of that year, DePuy announced it would end sales of all-metal hip devices, including the implant named in Pinnacle hip lawsuits. However, the company maintained that the decision was made for commercial reasons, rather than safety concerns. DePuy continues to deny allegations put forth by Pinnacle hip lawsuit plaintiffs.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP provides free legal reviews to individuals who suffered serious complications allegedly related to the all-metal version of the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant. To learn more, please call 877-779-1414.

Published October 4, 2016 by