Plaintiffs in thousands of hip replacement lawsuits involving a metal-on-metal version of DePuy Orthopaedics’ Pinnacle hip system have asked a federal court to remand their cases to the original court of filing for individual trial dates.
According to an Omnibus Motion filed with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, on February 5th, plaintiffs proposed that the Court conduct an “orderly and efficient staggered remand process,” in which each side would select 10 appropriate cases for remand to federal courts in California, New York and Texas. The 60 cases would begin going to trial in 2019.
The Motion further requests that the Court begin staged discovery of the metal-on-poly hip revision lawsuits currently pending in the multidistrict litigation.
DePuy Orthopaedics and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, have been named defendants in more than 9,600 hip replacement lawsuits involving the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip, which utilizes the Ultamet liner. The majority of claims are pending in the multidistrict litigation currently underway in the Northern District of Texas.
Plaintiffs pursuing DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits allege that the metal-on-metal design created by the Ultamet liner configuration can potentially shed dangerous amounts of toxic metal debris into the joint surround the hip, as well as the blood stream. Such an occurrence may result in adverse local tissue reactions, metallosis, pseudotumor formation, and other complications that necessitate the need for revision surgery to replace the joint.
So far, the federal Pinnacle hip litigation has convened four bellwether trials involving the metal-on-metal implants. The first concluded in October 2014, with a verdict for DePuy and Johnson & Johnson, the defendants’ sole victory.
In March 2016, five plaintiffs were awarded a total of $500 million at the conclusion of the second DePuy Pinnacle trial. However, the judge overseeing the case ultimately reduced that award to $151 million, in order to comply with Texas law governing punitive damages.
The litigation’s third trial ended in December 2016, when six Pinnacle recipients were awarded more than $1 billion. That judgment was later reduced to $543 million.
Another plaintiff was awarded $247 million in November.
Artificial hips should last around 15 years. But in January 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration warned that patients receiving metal-on-metal hip replacements were moe likely to experience premature device failure compared to those who received other types of implants.
In November 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics announced a $2.5 billion hip replacement settlement to resolve clams involving its ASR line of metal-on-metal hips
DePuy ended sales of the all-metal Pinnacle hip system that same year, purportedly due to “low clinician use”. However, the company has so far declined to settle the Pinnacle hip litigation.