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Pinnacle Hip Plaintiffs Look Ahead to Trial Dates

DePuy Pinnacle Hip LawsuitsAbout 6,400 DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas before the Honorable Judge Ed Kinkeade. For months, the involved parties have been going through pretrial discovery and selecting the bellwether cases, which are initial cases to go to trial. The first few plaintiffs will soon have their day in court.

The first bellwether trial is scheduled to begin on September 1, 2014. It involves plaintiffs Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli and Toni M. Lay. Three additional bellwether trials will begin on November 3, 2014. The final three plaintiffs in the bellwether group will have to wait until January 2015 for their trial date.

Plaintiffs’ complaints are representative of typical allegations

Herlihy-Paoli and Lay’s complaints were chosen as bellwether cases because it is believed their allegations are representative of the claims made in the thousands of other DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits in the MDL. All of the plaintiffs allege that the DePuy Pinnacle hip system, which is a metal-on-metal implant, is unreasonably dangerous and defective in design. The Pinnacle hip device has been linked to a high risk of loosening and premature failure just a few years following implantation, despite the expected life span of 15 to 20 years. Many plaintiffs have also suffered from localized tissue necrosis and metallosis, or heavy metal poisoning. These health concerns arise when the metallic components of the device rub together, releasing metal ions into the bloodstream and the surrounding tissue.

Herlihy-Paoli underwent surgery in 2009, during which she received the DePuy hip replacement. Not long after her surgery, she allegedly began to suffer severe pain. According to her lawsuit, her orthopedic surgeon diagnosed her with “dangerous levels of cobalt and chromium” in her bloodstream. She required a revision surgery to remove the allegedly defective implant and replace it. Her revision surgery took place in 2011, after which her surgeon determined that the implant had failed. The heavy metal poisoning was severe enough to turn the implant black.

The other plaintiff whose case will go to trial in September is Toni M. Lay. She underwent a right hip arthroscopy in September 2006, during which she also received the Pinnacle hip system. In April 2007, Lay underwent another hip replacement surgery for her left hip. Like Herlihy-Paoli, Lay was found to have suffered from heavy metal poisoning as an alleged result of the metal-on-metal implant device. The surgeon found soft tissue necrosis in the area of the implant, along with a space in which whitish-green fluid had accumulated.

In the event that Herlihy-Paoli, Lay, and the other plaintiffs chosen as part of the bellwether trial group receive substantial jury awards, it may encourage the extension of a settlement offer by the manufacturer to the other plaintiffs. However, the outcome of these initial trials is not binding upon the others. If the remaining plaintiffs do not agree to a settlement offer, they will be remanded back to their home districts for trial.

DePuy pays billions to settle ASR hip cases

DePuy Orthopaedics is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. These DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits are certainly not the only litigation efforts the manufacturer faces. The manufacturer has also been under fire for problems associated with the ASR hip implant, which was recalled in 2010. Johnson & Johnson recently announced that it would pay over $2.4 billion to settle about 12,000 DePuy ASR lawsuits.

  1. DePuy, PINNACLE Acetabular Cup System, 
  2. MedlinePlus, Hip Replacement,