Depuy Pinnacle Hip Bellwether Trial Scheduled for September 2017

  • Written by: Austin Kirk

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Although Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary pushed for stay on further bellwether trials following a massive verdict recently returned in a Pinnacle hip replacement lawsuit, the U.S. District Judge presiding over the litigation indicates that a fourth case go before a jury in September 2017.

There are currently more than 8,600 product liability lawsuits pending in the federal court system involving problems with DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hips, which are all centralized as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade in the Northern District of Texas.

All of the complaints raise similar allegations, indicate that the system was defectively designed, prone to release metallic debris and fail, often resulting in the need for risky revision surgery to have the hip implant removed or replaced.

In March, a DePuy Pinnacle bellwether trial ended in a $500 million verdict for five plaintiffs, including $140 million in a combined $140 million in compensatory damages, as well as another $360 million in punitive damages, which were designed to punish the manufacturer for reckless actions concerning the research and sale of the artificial hip implant.

Following post-trial motions, the verdict was reduced to $151 million under Texas state laws, but Judge Kinkeade refused to grant a new trial and rejected a request to stay additional bellwether trials pending an appeal.

In an Order (PDF) issued last week, Judge Kinkeade indicates that the next bellwether trial will begin with jury selection on September 5, 2017.

The specific case that will be tried has not yet been chosen, and Judge Kinkeade indicates that the Court will review its own potential bellwether selections, as well as recommendations by the parties on both sides of the litigation that were to be provided by November 7.

While the outcomes of these early bellwether trials are not binding on other Pinnacle hip claims, they are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain testimony, evidence and arguments that are likely to be used in thousands of other lawsuits, and could help form the basis of a DePuy Pinnacle hip settlement agreement.

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Problems

The Depuy Pinnacle is a metal-on-metal hip replacements, which features a metal femoral head that rotates within a metal acetabular cup. Similar models have been introduced by several different manufacturers in recent decades, and the design has been linked to substantial problems, often resulting in catastrophic failure within a few years after the artificial hip is implanted.

Most of the devices were introduced through the controversial fast-track 510(k) approval process, which only required that the device be a “substantial equivalent” to an already existing device approved by the FDA. However, the snowball effect of the substantial equivalence test has allowed many devices now considered unreasonably dangerous and defective to be implanted in thousands of Americans.

Unlike other artificial hip designs, which typically feature metal-on-ceramic or metal-on-plastic, the metal-on-metal hips have been found to release microscopic metallic debris as the parts rub against each other. This has been linked to reports of loosening and failure, often within a few years after the artificial hip is implanted.

The FDA released new guidance for metal-on-metal hip replacements in January 2013, indicating that doctors should only use the design if other artificial hip implants are not appropriate. The agency also determined that future metal-on-metal hip designs will be required to undergo extensive human clinical trials before they will be approved.

Thousands of metal-on-metal hip replacement lawsuits have been filed in recent years throughout the U.S., alleging that the manufacturers failed to adequately research the design or warn about the large number of implants that were failing within a few years and requiring revision surgery.

Johnson & Johnson previously agreed to pay more than $2.4 billion to settle DePuy ASR hip lawsuits, resolving about 8,000 cases brought by individuals who required revision surgery after receiving this newer metal-on-metal design, which was recalled from the market after a higher-than-expected failure rate became evident.

Although the DePuy ASR design was based on the Pinnacle hip, Johnson & Johnson has failed to negotiation a large settlement for DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits, previously indicating that it intends to defend the cases at trial.

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  1. John Reply

    My wife died 2 years ago. I would tell you that the chromium and cobalt that flowed through her body was a major contributing factor to her death. Poison circulating through your blood system and organs. No one will convince me that she did not die at the hands of J&J faulty Pinnacle hip. The delays in trials and settlement are sinful. No amount of money will bring my wife back. But J&J cannot go unpunished.

  2. James Reply

    John, that really scares me. My wife had the implant quite a while back and just recently had the revision surgery only because the ball popped out causing severe pain. But the symptoms inherent with metallosis have been present for several years and continue after the revision surgery. I’m so sorry you lost your wife. Mine has extensive bone loss as well. I can only pray that enough of the toxins from the cobalt leaves to restore relatively good health in time. Yes I agree, J&J is not nearly paying enough for his “crime”. They have no regard for human life, and 100% regard for profits at the expense of people’s lives and thir loved ones around them.

  3. Robert Reply

    My wife had the MOM hip and it led to high chrome in the blood along with heart problems. Constant pain and swelling around the hip area is the reason we first went to Stanford Medical were we were told she must have a revision or the problem will only get worse. The revision was performed in 2010 and we have been waiting since then for the case to go to trial. It seems J&J is waiting for all the people with the hips reworked to die. they continue to drag it on as long as possible. The law seems to work well for them!

  4. Steven Reply

    Received a pinnacle hip replacement November 2011 / Had a total hip revision February 2012. I acquired a bacterial infection that was the cause of the total hip revision. Antibiotics pick line weeks twice a day. It’s been 5 years waiting altered my life job would not take me back out too many times in 18 months. Collecting SSD as a result has medical benefits power supply by the VA thank God. I’m losing hope right now with the case.

  5. Jim Reply

    I have had 5 replacements. I have nerve damage in my leg also. I wasn’t able to return to my job at the early age of 45. This is a horrible company that has no respect for human health. I have been a part of this for 6 years and feel we are no closer to settling this than when they implanted me with the poison.Also, my revisions Depuy made money from because I have Plastic and Ceramic now. They should pay us and not a humiliating offer of 250,000.00 per hip that is disgraceful.

  6. anthony Reply

    my wife had her first surgery Aug 2010, three revisions later she now goes to pain management. She has lost 7 years of her life and will never be normal. the rat bastards at J&J show no compassion. No money can replace the misery they have caused, but they should have to pay BIG

  7. Angela Reply

    I had my first hip replacement in 2003 at 36 yrs. old. it went ok for about 4 yrs. then it started sliding out of place I would just be sitting not doing a thing. my surgeon had retired so the new one decided to go in and try to fix it. after surgery he explained that my doctor had left a part of the implant off and that’s why it was happening, so he took care of that. 3 days after that surgery I was in my recliner with my pillows in place and a pain like I had never experienced in my life with a large bulge below my implant. an ambulance had to come take me to the hospital. several doctors were called in and they just couldn’t figure it out. . that was 2007, in 2009 my health had deteriorated so bad I had to leave my job of 11 yrs. I became depressed I hurt all the time and decided I needed to see that doctor again since things just seemed to get worse. I was scared I was getting to the point that I might not want to keep living if this was how my life was gonna be. in seeing the surgeon he said everything looked good really he could go in and try to get some length back and that would maybe alleviate some of the pain. After that surgery he said he figured out what the large bulge was . it was my muscle. it had come undone after being cut for the surgery and reattatched. he stated that I should take it easy because they had trouble attaching it back so it probably could not be done again.also it was very Nasty full of metal debree they couldn’t get it all it was so bad. I asked for more pain med and that day forward I don’t think they ever heard a word i said. in his mind I guess I was just wantng pain pills. if only they Knew those things don’t take away the pain, but they did help make it bearable at times when it was overpowering. I feel like at 36yrs old my life ended, it did as I knew it. I felt like I had no dignity left, I was so close to giving up. I was alone and tired from trying to push through the pain every day to get out of the bed. today thank’s to God I’m still alive and my health is Def worse but my attitude is changed. I’m not gonna lay down and take it anymore. J &J I won’t give up until YOU make it right, and before I die. The money is not the fuel that drives me although living off of disability some would be nice but more than anything I want them to apologize and fix all the hips that can be fixed right. mine cant be fixed.

  8. adam Reply

    j&j paid companies and doctors millions and millions of dollars to get their junk on the market and the state of texas refuses to give us the amount we deserve, I VOTE TO BOYCOTT ALL PRODUCTS MADE BY AND SOLD BY JOHNSON AND JOHNSON. maybe if one of the bigshots had a friend or family member in pain 24/7 from a hip replacement they would settle and fast, they live in there fancy mansions and have people drive their expensive cars at our expense, please boycott them and make them suffer like we’re all doing.

  9. Vickie Reply

    Adam’s comments are exact. I am a RN that worked with the orthopedic practice that did my husband’s first hip replacement. He later had a revision due to constant pain and metallosis which has left him in a fragile state of health, both mentally and physically. Depuy paid these doctors a huge sum of money to use their product before being absolutely certain that it would be effective, and without any serious side affects. Unfortunately, when money is involved there are many medical providers that lose all concern for human life, and ironically that is what they chose to do with THEIR lives. That just proves that they chose this field for money in the first place. How incredibly sad and prayers for all that are suffering.

  10. Nick Reply

    I am a summary of all the above comments. We must all stay positive, talk to each other, get the word out to others . I found two ther people this last month, that did not know why they still have hip pain, problems! What were all your chromium /cobalt numbers, when you were sick? I think I was in the 6-7 range? Please share, and Gid Bless.

  11. Donald Reply

    I suffer with two metal hip implants, my first one was in 1998 and then in 2003, this happened to me in my thirties, since then I had a revision surgery on my left side, which has popped out five times, on top of that I had 3 heart attacks, my quality of life is nothing, I stay depressed and such enormous pain, its not about the money it is about getting justice for ruining my life, I an not 51 years old! I am pretty much a crippled! Lets stick together and make JJ pay us for life we can not get back!!! My wife and I reside in a building behind my brother’s house nothing but a bed!!! We live in one of the crooked cities in Alabama!!!!

  12. John Reply

    To me it is unbelievable that so many years have passed and the fourth trial is supposedly going to begin September 2017. My wife suffered greatly and died from this defective product. Many doctors were paid huge sums of money to use the defective product. Everyone involved has received large sums of money except the people whose lives were destroyed, altered, and ended by this product. At this rate I will have to live to be 160 years old to ever receive a settlement!! Here come da judge…sleeping in his robe.

  13. Dave Reply

    I believe that I am one of the 10 New York cases in the mix this past Sept.2017. Currently waiting for some news. 7 years or so I filed.Luckily avoided the class action deal. Hopefully chose the right firm to represent me. I believe I have. 3 hips later and this third one is bad as well. Just informed from the doc. that did the last revision that he cant help me with this one. “Beyond his level of expertease. He does most of the revisions in VT. He says go to NYC where they might be able to help. Hell of a thing aint it? Well folks, wish me luck. A just award in my case would bode well for those left out there with little hope. Carry ON

  14. Clark Reply

    I had my first hip surgery in 2008 (Pinnacle). The surgeon spent time to convince me that these new metal on metal hips were the newest breakthrough. After surgery, nothing I could do made the pain abate. It hurt constantly. The surgeon said the X-rays looked perfect and he couldn’t help me. I came back to him when my hip started sounding like an unoiled metal gate. He again blew me off. Three months later blood tests showed chromium levels 6x over normal and cobalt levels 12x over normal. This finally got attention and I was scheduled for revision surgery at Stanford. That surgery became infected with E. coli (digestive tract bacteria) and resulted in two more surgeries to address the infection. I came close to dying before the 5th surgery.That got me a ‘spacer’ and a disconnected leg for 3 months. Then they had to complete another revision when they thought infection was gone, but the surgery crew at Sanford left a bacteria in the surgery site again….even though they could see the bacteria on their culture slides. It bacteria festered in my hip for five more years causing constant pain but showing no other outward signs until it blew out of my hip as a festered abscess in late 2015. I could only find one surgeon who would even attempt a 4th revision. Most told me to prepare to be permanently disabled without use of my leg. The one surgeon I found who thought he could help me has done wonderful work. Still, it took two more surgeries that removed most most of my leg bone and at least one of my glute hip muscle. I just finished my 8th surgery and am currently recovering (again). Ten years of my life lost to painkillers and battles with doctors and surgeons. Never to walk right again. But I am still alive. But what an unnecessary waste of quality of life, time and time. Maybe the journey will be over now….but I’ve said that before

  15. S Reply

    I had a total hip replacement in 2007. My doctor used the pinnacle metal on metal with the ultramet liner. They broke my femur bone during the surgery so six weeks later I had surgery to fix my broken femur. In 2010 my blood test came back 10x higher than the normal range for chromium and cobalt.levels. In 2012 I under went my first revision surgery. Well that did not go has planned. The pain after the revision was worse than ever before. On my six week check up it was discovered that my hip was dislocated and I would need another revision surgery. I had a second revision surgery. Two hip revisions within a six week period. The damage from these surgeries have left me unable to do anything. I filed my lawsuit in 2010 and have not received a penny to this day. Johnson and Johnson are blaming the doctors for this fiasco. They put profit over our safety and used us as guinea pigs. They lied about the design and safety of their product. My life, along with thousands of others have been ruined. We will never ever have the quality of life we had before this dangerous product was implanted in us. They have no intention of settling these cases. It is all about the money. When five or six cases are tried a year we will all be dead before we even get to go to trial. The judicial system is rigged in favor of the corporations. They have the judges in their back pocket. The only hope we have is that every time there is a trail that the juries see through the bullshit and keep awarding billion dollar verdicts. One can only hope and pray that maybe that will force their sorry asses to eventually settle these cases. If not we will all die from the damages that this hip caused. I will keep fighting this injustice that has been done to me for as long as I am alive.and able to do so. My journey will never be over and I will not go away with out a fight. There is no amount of money that will compensate for what they have done to me and the thousands of others. Stay strong and keep on fighting the good fight and pray for a miracle.

  16. Joseph Reply

    I had J&J Depuy Pinnacle Metal On Metal hip replacements to both hips in 2009.As I’m writing this might not have all dates correct because my brain doesn’t function like it did before I was poisoned by J&J Depuy Pinnacle Metal On Metal hip my pain worsened,began losing my memory so bad I went with family to test drive new cars one night which my wife and I drove about 5+cars each with our kids and the next day my one son asked me which car I liked best from yesterday I said which ones the cars from computer or tv commercials he said the ones you and mommy drove I excused myself went to bathroom and cried my eyes out because I was so scared embarrassed that I had no idea I drove with my wife and kids in several cars the night before realizing I could have killed my wife and kids or someone else on the road that got really bad my vision memory headaches panick attacks anxiety worsened pain that I thought would get better not worse cataracts speach blood pressure just to mention a few side affects from being poisoned from those hips had them revised in 2014.Dr showed my wife and kids pictures he took with his phone of the hips he was about to remove my wife said they were green rusted looking metal inside my body.since then I still have the pain,vision, some speech memory problems pseudo tumors on hip rashes to mention a few of problems.The main point I’m focused on is wanting to see J&J Depuy pay for what I think was a disregard for human life in favor of the almighty dollar! Want my wife and kids to be taken care of for the loss of a husband father and friend for all these years I didn’t mention I was 40 or 41 when had initial hip replacements now I’m 50 I don’t think I will be alive when J&J Depuy are held responsible and have to pay blood money at their hands to the thousands of people going through the nightmare me and my family have and still are going thru! God bless to all the other innocent people who are suffering and died at the hands of tho MONEY MACHINE MONSTERS!

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