ALERT: Your health is top priority. We’re committed to providing reliable COVID-19 resources to keep you informed and safe.

Jury Finds Pinnacle Hips Defective and Orders J&J to Pay $502M

doctor examines hip bone 3d model

A Dallas jury hit Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit with a multi-million dollar verdict over its Pinnacle hip implants. Experts call the verdict a victory for plaintiffs who say the company’s hip implants caused them permanent injuries that led to more surgeries and severe pain.

According to the lawsuits, DePuy knowingly sold defective implants and hid the risk from patients and doctors. After about two months of testimony, jurors deliberated for several days and determined that the Pinnacle devices were defective and the company failed to warn. The massive $502 million award includes $142 million in compensatory damages and $360 million in punitive damages intended to punish DePuy and discourage the device-maker from more of the same behavior in the future.

The multimillion dollar award is split between five plaintiffs: Margaret Aoki, Jay Christopher, Donald Greer, Richard Klusmann and Robert Peterson. All of them filed claims because of failed Pinnacle Ultramet hips.

Injured by complications related to hip replacements? Get a Free Case Review

“The defendants have tried six different arguments against people with failed implants,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Mark Lanier told Bloomberg. “One worked, that the surgeon put it in wrong. The other five haven’t worked and won’t, because it is a defective product.”

This is the second Pinnacle trial. J&J won the first Pinnacle bellwether by convincing jurors that the surgeon was at-fault for improperly implanting the device.

“The product is backed by a strong record of safety and effectiveness in reducing pain and restoring mobility for patients,” DePuy’s spokeswoman told Bloomberg in an e-mailed statement.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Pinnacle Hips a ‘Story of Deception’

During trial, plaintiffs said that their metal-on-metal DePuy hips gave them cobalt and chromium poisoning. The complications that resulted from the metal debris led to implant failure and required more painful surgeries to correct problems.

“It’s a seedy story of deception, payoffs and hidden truths,” Lanier told Bloomberg. He added that DePuy hip patients “are walking time bombs.”

Hip implant makers marketed metal-on-metal implants as more durable than other types, but studies show there devices have other issues, such as metallosis — a condition where microscopic metal particles flake off the joints of the implant and enter the bloodstream or surrounding tissues. The tissue and bone around the implant deteriorate causing pain and loosening of the hip.

J&J Launched Aggressive Campaign to Market Pinnacle

About 170,000 Pinnacle implants made it into the bodies of patients in the U.S. after the device originally made it onto the market in 2000. All the plaintiffs, including a plastic surgeon and a former chief executive of a hospital, in this case claimed their hips had to be surgically removed after they failed.

According to Lanier, DePuy launched an aggressive campaign to push their metal-on-metal devices internationally and in the U.S. Plaintiffs also said the company paid doctors kickbacks overseas and paid U.S. doctors to promote the product to patients without warning the public of the risks.

This marks the latest bombshell verdict in J&J’s ongoing hip implant litigation. In 2010, the device maker said it would pay $2.5 billion to settle thousands of DePuy ASR lawsuits. The Pinnacle may end up in the same situation, legal experts said.

In the meantime, DePuy plans to appeal “immediately.” There are more than 8,200 federal lawsuits still pending.

Michelle Llamas, Senior Content Writer
Written By Michelle Llamas Senior Writer

Michelle Llamas has been writing articles and producing podcasts about drugs, medical devices and the FDA for nearly a decade. She focuses on various medical conditions, health policy, COVID-19, LGBTQ health, mental health and women’s health issues. Michelle collaborates with experts, including board-certified doctors, patients and advocates, to provide trusted health information to the public. Some of her qualifications include:

  • Member of American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and former Engage Committee and Membership Committee member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Literacy certificates
  • Original works published or cited in The Lancet, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the Journal for Palliative Medicine

2 Cited Research Articles writers follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and interviews with qualified experts. Review our editorial policy to learn more about our process for producing accurate, current and balanced content.

  1. Korosec, T. & Feeley, J. (2016, March 17). J&J Ordered to Pay $502 Million Over Pinnacle Hip Failures. Bloomberg. Retrieved from:
  2. Wasserman, E. (2016. March 17). J&J slapped with $500M verdict in metal-on-metal hip implant cases. Fierce Medical Devices. Retrieved from
View All Sources
Call to speak with a legal expert
Who Am I Calling?

Calling this number connects you with one of Drugwatch's trusted legal partners. A law firm representative will review your case for free.

Drugwatch's trusted legal partners support the organization’s mission to keep people safe from dangerous drugs and medical devices. For more information, visit our partners page.

(877) 280-3908