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Bloomberg News reports that Johnson & Johnson will pay $1 billion to resolve about 6,000 DePuy Pinnacle Hip lawsuits, as part of a settlement expected to resolve 95% of all claims brought by individuals who required revision surgery after the metal-on-metal hip failed.
Late last year, it was reported that Johnson & Johnson hip settlements for DePuy Pinnacle implants were being reached at a rapid rate, resolving about one-third of the litigation pending nationwide.
Since that time, agreements have been expanded to resolve nearly all claims involving failure and revision surgery for metal-on-metal variations of the controversial hip system.
A new report by Bloomberg News this week indicates Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay roughly $1 billion to resolve the cases, leaving only about 4,500 claims brought by individuals who either received hip implants have not yet required surgical revision, or did not involve the metal-on-metal configuration. However, it is was not clear whether future settlements may cover those claims.
Since May 2011, all hip replacement lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson over problems with DePuy Pinnacle implants have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade in the Northern District of Texas, as part of an MDL or multidistrict litigation.
According to the latest docket report, there are currently 9,912 cases pending before Judge Kinkeade for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
To help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the claims, Judge Kinkeade has held a number of early “bellwether” trials, which have resulted in several massive verdicts against Johnson & Johnson.
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 the extent of liability Johnson & Johnson may face if each case were remanded for trial.