Johnson & Johnson is accused of having knowingly allowed the production and release of defectively designed Pinnacle hip implants that have had numerous cases of failure, some resulting in surgical removal.
Though only six patients are involved in this $1 billion lawsuit, the company faces over 8,000 other lawsuits regarding the Pinnacle hip implant.
According to reports, Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit, part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices group, developed and marketed the Pinnacle Hip implant. A federal jury in Dallas concluded that officials of the DePuy unit knew the device was defective yet did not adequately warn doctors or patients of the device’s risk of failure.
According to court filings, J&J is to pay more than $30 million in actual damages for the six patients, and more than $1 billion in punitive damages, which will be governed by California law due to the residency of all six patients in that state. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, this is the third largest overall jury award of 2016.
Representatives for Johnson & Johnson remain adamant about their defense of the lawsuit allegations. J&J and DePuy spokeswoman, Mindy Tinsley, claims that the company appropriately designed and tested the pinnacle hip; furthermore, J&J attorney, John Beisner, accuses the court’s ruling to have “precluded a fair presentation to the jury”. In an e-mail statement, Beisner states that “the appellate court will need to review errors” made by district Judge Ed Kinkeade.
J&J won the first Pinnacle hip case in Oct., 2014. The jury decided to reject a Montana woman’s claims that the implant gave her metal poisoning.
This year, J&J has faced six of the seven largest product defect verdicts in the U.S., including one lawsuit that claims the company’s talc products cause ovarian cancer.
Judge Kinkeade has scheduled another trial for J&J regarding 10 more claims from hip implant recipients.
The DePuy Pinnacle hip was specifically designed and manufactured by the orthopaedic department of DePuy Synthes, a company that was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in the late 90’s.
Lawsuits facing J&J include claims that the metal on metal hip implants leach cobalt and chromium material into patient’s blood streams, and can deteriorate human tissue and bone.
Johnson & Johnson stopped selling the device after the United State Food and Drug Administration implemented more rigorous artificial hip regulations.