In 2016, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and DePuy Orthopedics lost yet another lawsuit because of their Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants. Now, J&J is appealing the judge’s ruling by asking for new trials and further reduced damages.
Pinnacle Hip Implants are Injuring People
Many patients were implanted with Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants in the early 2000s. Scientists have shown that Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants are dangerous for patients because they cause high metal levels, and ultimately require revision surgery. Unfortunately, this revelation came too late for patients who already received a Pinnacle, got high metal levels, and underwent revision surgery.
J&J Lost 2/3 Important Lawsuits
Over 6,500 people nationwide are suing J&J and DePuy because of injuries caused by the Pinnacle hip device. When this many plaintiffs sue a defendant for the same reason, they can consolidate their claims in one location. That’s called “multidistrict litigation” (MDL). In an MDL, the plaintiffs and defendants first litigate a few cases (bellwethers) to test their arguments on the jury. Bellwethers help the parties predict how other cases in the MDL will likely go. After the bellwethers, the parties often choose to sit down and negotiate a settlement agreement to resolve the other plaintiffs’ lawsuits. So far J&J and DePuy have lost two out of the three bellwether trials.
J&J is Appealing Its Disastrous Legal Loss Again
In the third bellwether, the jury initially awarded the six plaintiffs a combined total of $28 million in compensatory damages plus $1 billion in punitive damages. J&J appealed the plaintiffs’ win and appealed the amount of damages awarded. The judge refused to overturn the plaintiffs’ win but did reduce the punitive damages awarded from $1 billion total to $1.25 million total. Now, J&J has appealed again. This time they’re asking the judge for six do-over trials, and for the judge to reduce the damages even further. J&J is arguing that the judge let in too much evidence and that combining six cases into one trial was too confusing for the jury. J&J’s argument is confusing because juries regularly have no problem listening to bellwethers with multiple plaintiffs.
J&J is Facing More and More Pressure to Settle
J&J appears to be on the ropes. If J&J doesn’t win any of its new appeals, it’ll be in an even weaker bargaining position than before. These recent developments show that J&J is facing more and more pressure to settle all the Pinnacle hip implant cases. We’re watching the Pinnacle bellwether trials carefully, and we’ll keep you updated on the latest developments, right here.