More Than 3,200 DePuy Pinnacle Hip Lawsuits Pending in MDL

The number of product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system over problems with the DePuy Pinnacle hip system continues to grow, with more than 3,200 complaints currently consolidated in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) established for all pretrial proceedings.

Unlike the more widely covered lawsuits over DePuy ASR hip replacements, much less media attention and publicity has been focused on the similarly designed Pinnacle model, which is an older version of the metal-on-metal hip system that has also been associated with reports of early failure, often resulting in the need for revision surgery to have the implant removed.

In August 2010, a DePuy ASR hip recall was issued by the medical device manufacturer for about 93,000 implants, after it was confirmed that a higher-than-expected rate of the metal-on-metal hip replacements were failing within a few years after surgery.

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The ASR implant was submitted to the FDA for approval based on the “substantially similar” design of the DePuy Pinnacle hip system, which also features a metal-on-metal configuration in many systems. However, a DePuy Pinnacle recall has not been issued, and many individuals who have experienced problems following their hip replacement are unaware that the issues may be related to the design of the device.

According to allegations raised in the lawsuits filed against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson, both implants feature a defective design that allows microscopic shavings of metal to enter the blood stream as the metal parts rub against each other. This can cause a form of blood poisoning known as metallosis, which can increase the risk of inflammation and loosening of the components.

Status of the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Litigation

All DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country have been consolidated as part of an MDL, before Judge Ed Kinkeade in the Northern District of Texas.

At the time the litigation was consolidated, there were only about 57 cases pending nationwide. However, according to an updated Master Case List (PDF) issued by the court at the end of November, there are now 3,202 cases centralized in the MDL.

According to a Case Management Order in August, the first DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits are expected to be ready for trial by September 1, 2014.

All of the suits involve similar allegations that the DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System was defectively designed or manufactured, and that inadequate warnings were provided about the risk of early complications or problems, which often develop within a few years of the surgery. In many cases, the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement complications result in the need for additional surgery to replace or revise the hip replacement.

Nearly identical allegations have been raised in more than 6,000 product liability lawsuits over the recalled DePuy ASR hip implants, which are consolidated in a separate MDL that is centralized before Judge David A. Katz in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Manufacturers of other metal-on-metal hip systems also face similar lawsuits over problems with their implants, including the Biomet M2A-Magnum hip and Wright Medical Conserve Plus hip.


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