There could soon be another litigation established for DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits, this time in the state of California.  Last week, the state’s Judicial Council ordered Judge Richard A. Kramer of San Francisco to determine whether a consolidated docket should be established for all the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement lawsuits currently pending in courts throughout California.

California plaintiffs had filed a petition with the Judicial Council in 2011 seeking consolidation of DePuy Pinnacle  lawsuits, asserting there would ultimately be “dozens, and likely hundreds” of similar cases filed in the state.  Last month, Judge Kramer had recommended all pending and future claims be consolidated in San Francisco Superior Court.  In his September 13 letter to the Judicial Council, he also recommended against adding the Pinnacle cases to a consolidated docket already established for DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits.  Judge Kramer is also overseeing the ASR docket in California.

The Judicial Council’s October 4th Order, authored by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, directs Judge Kramer to, among other things, recommend a California Superior Court for the site of the DePuy Pinnacle coordinated proceedings.

All of the lawsuits pending in California involve a metal-on-metal version of the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement System that utilizes the metal Ultamet liner.  Plaintiffs who have filed DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits allege the metal-on-metal device is prone to excessive wear when the metal ball and cup rub together.  This can cause the hip implant to shed microscopic particles of metal into surrounding tissue, leading to pain, swelling, infection, metallosis, premature device failure,  and the accumulation of dangerous levels of toxic chromium and cobalt ions in the blood stream.

According to a report published by Reuters in July, at least 1,600 DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits have been filed in courts throughout the U.S.  Most of those are pending in a federal multidistrict litigation underway in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (MDL 2244).    If plaintiffs successfully pursue their Pinnacle claims, DePuy and its parent, Johnson & Johnson could end up paying nearly $5 billion to cover revision surgeries alone, the Reuters report said.

The all-metal version of the Pinnacle hip implant is just one metal-on-metal hip device that has come under scrutiny in recent years.  A number of studies have shown that such devices may shed dangerous amounts of metal ions into patients’ tissue and blood streams.  Over time, this can lead to metallosis, which can result in significant tissue and bone loss, as well as  cardiovascular, neurological, renal and thyroid problems down the road.

In August 2010, Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit recalled the metal-on-metal ASR hip device after the implants were found to be failing in an unusually high number of people.  DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits allege the all-metal of version of the device suffers from the same types of defects that prompted the ASR recall and should have been recalled as well.  So far however, a DePuy Pinnacle recall has not been issued.

If you or someone you love  experienced pain, infection, metallosis or any other problem that may have been caused by a metal-on-metal DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement, please contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP to learn how to protect your legal rights. You may be entitled to file a DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuit seeking compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Call today for your free case review: (877) 779-1414.

Published October 9, 2012 by