What the Jury Decided
The amount of the verdict is astounding. Six plaintiffs were awarded $1.009 billion in punitive damages as well as $32 million in compensatory damages. The lawsuit alleged that the plaintiffs developed severe complications after receiving Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants manufactured by DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The suit further alleged that the complications occurred due to a design flaw with the Pinnacle implant and that the manufacturer falsely promoted this metal-on-metal implant as being more durable than their ceramic or plastic counterparts The jury ultimately sided with the plaintiffs and deemed it appropriate to include an enormous punitive damage award in its verdict.
Why You Should Care
More than 8,000 lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy involving metal-on-metal hip implant complications. The trial that concluded on December 1 was what is known as a “bellwether” case. This is a case that will help determine the value of future cases involving similar litigation.
There have been three bellwether trials involving Pinnacle implants that have been decided so far. In the first, DePuy and Johnson & Johnson were cleared of liability. In the second, a jury awarded $500 million to the plaintiffs. The judge in the case later reduced the award to $151 million. As discussed above, the third resulted in over a $1 billion award to the plaintiffs.