Johnson & Johnson has reportedly agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits involving a metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle Hip Replacement System marketed by its DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary.
News of the possible hip lawsuit settlement came yesterday, when an attorney involved in the massive litigation told Bloomberg that the agreement would could “resolve most, if not all” pending Pinnacle claims.
The attorney did not provide any details on the settlement, and a spokesperson for DePuy Orthopaedics declined to comment.
Yesterday, however, a judge overseeing the centralized Pinnacle hip litigation in the U.S. District Court, Norther District of Texas, also dismissed the jury empaneled to hear claims brought by five plaintiffs. According to Bloomberg, officials would only confirm that the trial had ended and the jury was released.
Just two weeks ago, Bloomberg quoted a source who said Johnson & Johnson was willing to pay over $400 million to settle roughly 3,300 Pinnacle hip replacement lawsuits, with an average plaintiff payout of about $150,000.
A week later, Johnson & Johnson reached an agreement with 46 state attorneys’ general to resolve allegations that its DePuy subsidiary engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it marketed its metal-on-metal ASR and Pinnacle hip replacements.
In November 2013, the company announced a $250 billion hip lawsuit settlement to resolve 93,000 claims involvng DePuy’s ASR-line of artificial hips. The company recalled those metal-on-metal hip replacements in August 2010, after data from a medical device registry in the U.K. suggested the implants were associated with a 12% failure rate within just 5 years of implantation.
On average, a hip replacement should last about 15-to-20 years.
More than 10,000 product liability lawsuits involving the metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip that utilizes the Ultamet liner are undergoing coordinated pretrial proceedings in the Northern District of Texas.
Plaintiffs claim the metal-on-metal Pinnacle configuration sheds microscopic particles into the tissue around the hip joint, resulting in adverse tissue reactions, metallosis, pseudotumor formation, and premature device failure. They further assert thatthe Ultamet/Pinnacle combination suffers from the same design defection that plagued DePuy ASR hip replacements and questioned why the Johnson & Johnson failed to recall it as well.
The majority of DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits have been centralized in the multidistrict litigation now underway in the Northern District of Texas.
Since October 2014, the federal litigation has convened four bellwether trials. The first concluded with a verdict in favor of DePuy and Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs won the following three trials, with jury awarding plaintiffs verdicts ranging from $247 million to $1 billion. However, the Court reduced the $1 billion verdict to $543 million and cut a $500 million verdict to $151 million. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned the $151 million verdict.