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Billion Dollar Verdict in DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement Lawsuit

Huge Victory in Hip Replacement Lawsuit

Despite multiple attempts by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to delay and dismiss the third DePuy Pinnacle hip implant bellwether trial, the case moved forward with outstanding results. After 12 weeks of trial, which included 32 witnesses called and 1,346 total admitted exhibits, Jurors awarded the six plaintiffs more than $1 billion in punitive damages and an additional $32 million in compensatory damages.

This recent hip replacement lawsuit verdict was governed by California law, so it is not subject to the same punitive damages cap as was seen in the earlier trial which was governed by Texas law. The impressive verdict sends a clear message to J&J, which plaintiffs hope will finally encourage J&J to settle the remaining 8,500 claims.

Bellwether trials are conducted to test common claims and legal theories in a small number of cases. In essence, the bellwether cases act as a representative for the remaining cases in hopes of eventually reaching a global settlement. There are 7 bellwether cases currently scheduled for the consolidated DePuy Multidistrict Litigation (MDL).

In the DePuy hip replacement lawsuit, the first bellwether trial resulted in a judgement for J&J, but the second and third trials have both resulted in verdicts for plaintiffs with very high punitive damage awards: 1) the recent $1 billion award for six plaintiffs under California law, and 2) $360 million for five plaintiffs under Texas law (later reduced to meet punitive caps in Texas).

The lawsuits against J&J involve injuries from defective products and for failure to warn of the serious risks associated with DePuy joint replacement implants. In this trial, plaintiffs claimed they suffered tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries. There is also evidence of a risk for toxic metal poisoning, localized tissue inflammation, and other types of debilitating bone damage.

COPYRIGHT © 2020, STARK & STARKNational Law Review, Volume VI, Number 344
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About this Author

Martin P. Schrama, Stark Law, Intellectual Property and Litigation Law Attorney
Shareholder

Martin P. Schrama is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark's Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort, Intellectual Property and Green Litigation Groups. Mr. Schrama has extensive experience litigating on both the trial and appellate levels of the federal and state courts of New Jersey and New York, as well as numerous other jurisdictions throughout the nation in a pro hac vice capacity. This experience also extends to regular practice before AAA, JAMS and various other alternate dispute resolution fora.

The primary focus of Mr. Schrama’s practice is...

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