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Hip Settlement Expanded To Resolve Most DePuy Pinnacle Implant Cases: Report

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A DePuy Pinnacle hip implant settlement announced late last year, which covered about 3,000 claims, has reportedly been expanded to resolve most of the outstanding cases. 

Bloomberg News published a story on February 4, which indicates that DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, has reached a settlement agreement that will resolve most DePuy Pinnacle implant cases pending throughout the U.S. court system.

While no details about the deal have been reported, Johnson & Johnson agreed to settle about 3,300 claims for $400 million in November 2018, which involved payments of about $125,000 per claim.

In addition, last month Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $120 million to resolve claims filed by state attorneys general which accused the manufacturer of engaging in deceptive marketing for failing to warn the medical community and patients about the risks of metal-on-metal hip replacements.

While Johnson & Johnson has not acknowledged this latest settlement, a federal jury in Texas was recently dismissed mid-trial, which appears to be the result of this settlement agreement.

There are currently more than 10,000 DePuy Pinnacle hip cases brought by individuals nationwide who have experienced complications with the metal-on-metal implant. The federal cases have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade in the Northern District of Texas, as part of an MDL (multidistrict litigation) since 2011.

As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings, a number of “bellwether” trials have gone before juries in recent years, with several resulting in massive damage awards of several hundred million dollars.

Although separate juries have reached similar large verdicts after considering evidence in the cases, Johnson & Johnson previously maintained that it would not settle DePuy Pinnacle hip cases, and intended to defend the litigation. However, it appears that position has now changed.

Late last year, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay six plaintiffs $247 million in damages. That verdict came after a $500 million jury award in March 2016 and a $1 billion award in December 2016. While the first award was later reduced to about $500 million, and the second award was reduced to $151 million under Texas state damage caps, the staggering verdicts provided a clear signal about how juries may respond if similar cases went to trial in the future..

Johnson & Johnson previously agreed to pay more than $2.4 billion to settle DePuy ASR metal hip lawsuits, which was a recalled hip system based on the design of the DePuy Pinnacle metal hip.

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