$245M Award OK’d for 6 DePuy Pinnacle Hip Patients

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Judge with a gavel

Six people who sued over injuries from DePuy Orthopaedics hip replacements will split a $245 million judgment. Individual awards will range from $36 million to more than $48 million.

A federal judge in Texas entered the final judgment August 29, — nine months after a jury returned a $247 million verdict in their case. The plaintiffs agreed to the slightly smaller amount after private insurance agreed to cover $1.2 million of their medical expenses.

Thousands of DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement lawsuits are still pending in federal court.

The people who sued had claimed DePuy Orthopaedics and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, knew Pinnacle hips were defective. The companies never issued a major Pinnacle hip replacement recall, but quietly phased out the model blamed for injuries in the lawsuits.

The devices were a metal-on-metal design. They formed an artificial hip joint with a metal ball in a metal socket or cup. Movement in the joint released microscopic metallic ions. These caused serious hip replacement complications that could damage bone and muscle and lead to the implant’s failure.

Pinnacle Hip Complications Helped Determine Awards

The six people in the Texas case received different amounts of the judgment. The individual amounts were based on the number and extent of their specific injuries. Injuries included past and future medical expenses as well as pain and suffering.

DePuy Plaintiffs and Judgment Amounts

Plaintiff Amount
Karen Kirschner $48.6 million
Hazel Miura $43.7 million
Ureil Barzel $39.2 million
Ramon Alicea $38.9 million
Michael Stevens $37.8 million
Eugene Stevens $36.8 million

 

The bulk of the original jury award came in the form of $90 million in punitive damages. That is money a jury may award to punish a defendant. Juries award punitive damages if they decide a defendant’s actions were especially harmful. The judge did not alter this amount.

The jury awarded $77 million for damages to the patients who received Pinnacle hip implants. The insurance payments reduced this by $1.2 million.

The jury also awarded four of the patients’ spouses a total of $1.7 million for loss of consortium. That is a legal term for people denied the benefits of a family relationship due to their injuries.

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

Thousands More Pinnacle Hip Lawsuits Await Action

The August judgment follows a jury verdict for the six plaintiffs in November 2017.  The trial was part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving more than 9,600 Pinnacle hip replacement lawsuits. MDLs allow federal courts to combine several similar hip replacement lawsuits for efficiency.

This case was the fourth bellwether trial in the MDL. Bellwethers are test cases that can gauge arguments on both sides. Their outcomes can lead people to drop lawsuits or they can help shape court settlements.

After DePuy won the first bellwether in 2014, juries have sided with the people claiming injuries in the last three. Verdicts have totaled more than $1.7 billion. But appeals have reduced the total to around $938 million.

DePuy and Johnson & Johnson are expected to appeal the latest judgment.

The MDL has been underway since May 2011.

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10 Cited Research Articles

  1. Bayles, C. (2018, August 29). J&J Hip Implant Plaintiffs Get $245M Judgment After Trial. Law360. Retrieved from https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgxvzKQjKMlpKzNtThMQnBZgzhTMP
  2. Taylor, N.P. (2018, April 26). Johnson & Johnson Appeal of $151M Hip Implant Ruling Succeeds After Judge Finds Talk of Iraqi Bribes Tainted Case. FierceBiotech. Retrieved from https://www.fiercebiotech.com/medtech/johnson-johnson-appeal-151m-hip-implant-ruling-succeeds-after-judge-finds-talk-iraqi-bribes
  3. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2018, August 15). MDL Statistics Report - Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District. Retrieved from http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/Pending_MDL_Dockets_By_District-August-15-2018.pdf
  4. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2011, May 24). Transfer Order. Retrieved from http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/documents/311-md-2244_1.pdf
  5. Bellon, T. (2017, November 16). Johnson & Johnson hit with $247 Million Verdict in Hip Implant Trial. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-verdict/johnson-johnson-hit-with-247-million-verdict-in-hip-implant-trial-idUSKBN1DG2MB
  6. Dye, J. & Garza, L.M. (2014, October 23). Johnson & Johnson DePuy Wins First Trial Over Pinnacle Hips. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-trial-verdict-idUSKCN0IC2GH20141023
  7. Harris, A. & Voreacos, D. (2013, March 12). J&J Faces Second Trial Over Recalled Hip After Loss. Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-03-11/j-j-faces-second-trial-over-recalled-hip-after-losing-first-case
  8. U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas Dallas Division. (2012, August 14). In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation Case Management Order No. 8 [Schedule of Pretrial Matters]. Retrieved from http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/documents/3-11-md-2244_190.pdf
  9. U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas Dallas Division. (2013, September 30). In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implants Products Liability Litigation Agreed Order Staying Cases Pending Bellwether Trials. Retrieved from http://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2244-348.pdf
  10. Feeley, J. and Hasselle, D. (2017, December 7). J&J Faces High-Stakes Appeal to Toss Pinnacle Hips Judgement. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-07/j-j-faces-high-stakes-appeal-to-toss-pinnacle-hips-judgment
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