On March 17th, a jury awarded $498 million in a DePuy Pinnacle bellwether trial. The trial consolidated claims of five individuals who had experienced numerous side effects due to hip arthroplasty and implantation with the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement device. The device consists of metal parts that can rub and move together. This movement has been shown to cause the release of metal ions into the tissues of the body. Over time, these ions can build up and destroy tissue and cause numerous medical conditions. In the suit, the individuals reported:
- Erosion of bone
- Inflammation and irritation of the tissues surrounding the hip due to the release of metal ions
- Metallosis, a dangerous and toxic condition in which metal ions enter the bloodstream
Plaintiffs in the suit alleged that Johnson & Johnson continued to market their metal on metal hip replacement devices even after they were aware of problems. Attorneys for the plaintiff cited over 1300 complaints of the device causing numerous problems, including metallosis. The Pinnacle devices were sold through 2013, and thousands of cases remain outstanding.
The verdict includes a whopping $360 million in punitive damages, although this amount may be reduced upon appeal. This represents the second major verdict against Johnson & Johnson this year. A jury awarded the family of a woman who had died of ovarian cancer $72 million based on claims that long-term used of talcum powder caused her cancer. Also, in 2013, Johnson & Johnson settled over 7000 claims about another hip replacement device for a whopping $2.5 billion.
These mega-verdicts send a message to pharmaceutical manufacturers that they will be held accountable for injuries and damage that occurs from their devices. Physicians and consumers deserve to be able to make informed decisions, and this cannot occur when manufacturers do not openly share reports of problems, side effects, or revision surgeries.
If you have been harmed through the use of a joint replacement device or another other pharmaceutical device, contact Lake Oswego and Portland personal injury attorney Wm. Keith Dozier. You may be entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Keith Dozier will work with you to send a message to manufacturers that dangerous devices will not be tolerated. Contact Wm. Keith Dozier today for a free consultation.