Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Johnson & Johnson, Multi-District Litigations, MDL, Biomet and Stryker, Zimmer, DePuy, ASR, Court of Appeals

Johnson & Johnson, Multi-District Litigations, MDL, Biomet and Stryker, Zimmer, DePuy, ASR, Court of Appeals

Dallas, TX
The latest hip replacement litigation news is the DePuy Pinnacle trials, slated for late September in Dallas federal Court, Northern District. “This is the last big group of hip cases going to trial with the exception of Johnson & Johnson,” says attorney and practicing cardiologist Shezad Malik. “We are hopeful that a successful and sizable verdict on this third bellwether trial may push J&J to the settlement table.”

For the past four years the DePuy Pinnacle claims have been set up in Multi-District Litigations (MDL’s) and as of August 15, 2016 approximately 8,500 cases are pending in the Northern District of Texas. All these cases have similar allegations: the Pinnacle is allegedly defective in design and DePuy failed to test it adequately - it was fast-tracked through the 501k process.

And the DePuy Pinnacle is similar to other brands of hip replacements. Biomet and Stryker, Zimmer and others are all plagued by design defects. “Biomet and Zimmer already settled. They all know metal-on-metal hip replacements are a bad product on the market so the chickens have come home to roost,” says Malik. And J&J chickens will likely follow…

From January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, the FDA received more than 500 adverse event reports regarding the DePuy Pinnacle, including patients who required revision surgery because the implant was loosening or coming out of position. And many hip recipients reported they had been diagnosed with metallosis, which is caused when metallic debris comes lose from a hip replacement device and is absorbed by the surrounding tissue. (In large amounts and different forms, chromium can be toxic and carcinogenic and cobalt has the potential for liver damage and other long term adverse health issues, which is caused by inflammation at the cellular level.)

In the DePuy ASR trials, jurors were shown an internal DePuy analysis from 2011 that indicated a 37 percent failure rate of ASR hips within 4.5 years, and that Australian national registry data showed in 2012 that 44 percent failed after seven years. “The Pinnacle is also a faulty design and has the same defects as other DePuy models,” adds Malik. “The main difference is that the ASR was recalled and the Pinnacle was not recalled.”


DePuy Pinnacle $502 Million Appeal Dragging On
$500 Million DePuy Pinnacle Jury Award Slashed in Texas
DePuy Seeks a Stay of Next Pinnacle Bellwether Trial

So far there have been two DePuy Pinnacle trials. One took place over a year ago with a defense verdict and earlier this year a bellwether trial that consolidated five cases resulted in a $500 million verdict in compensatory and punitive damages. “The judge later reduced the settlement amount to $150 million for those folks based on Texas law that caps pain and suffering awards,” Malik explains. “Since that verdict the defense made a motion for a new trial. It was appealed to the 5th circuit and they filed a mandamus against the judge (in this case, the appellate process is asking the Court of Appeals to review the judge’s decisions). As of Sept 12, the Court of Appeals has not reached a decision and the trials are scheduled to go forward in the next few weeks.”

Malik says that all the hip replacements are continuing to fail. “We expect them to be a problem for the next five years,” he explains. “People who had implants in the early 2000s and even five or six years ago are now filing claims with us.” Baby boomers in particular were sold a bill of goods. They were told their implant would last 20-25 years. “People expected their hip replacement to outlive them but the reality is far from that.”

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