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DePuy Pinnacle Hip Lawsuit Filed Over Metal Poisoning

scales of justice and gavelAnother DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuit has been filed over metallosis (or metal poisoning), an alleged result of the flawed hip replacement construction which caused the plaintiff discomfort and damage and necessitated follow-up surgery. The complaint contends that the defendant, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. (a subsidiary corporation of Johnson & Johnson) produced a defective implant that was responsible for his suffering.

Kevin Ayscue had his right hip replaced with a Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System (known in the complaint as the “Pinnacle Device”) on November 19, 2009. In the period following, he experienced pain, discomfort, and inflammation so extreme that he had ultimately had to have the implant removed on February 1, 2013. Medical professionals believe that these side effects were the result of the cobalt-chromium metal ions and particles that were released due to friction between the metal parts of the implant.

Concerns over dangers of metal-on-metal hips

The DePuy hip lawsuit (Ayscue v. DePuy Orthopaedicas, Inc., et al, Case # 3:14-CV-04511), which was filed in Dallas, TX on December 23, 2014, details the dangers of metal-on-metal hip replacements, of which the Pinnacle Device is just one example.

Like other such devices, the Pinnacle hip was cleared by the FDA through its 510 (k) process, in which devices deemed to be “substantially similar” to other devices which have already been cleared are not subject to rigorous testing. The complaint notes that the device was subject to “virtually no clinical or non-clinical trials” prior to being released into the U.S. market in 2001. Since then, the complaint estimates that approximately 150,000 Pinnacle devices have been sold.

Marketing materials for the Pinnacle hip state that “99.9% of Pinnacle Hip components are still in use today.” However, the complaint notes that 1,300 adverse event reports have been filed with the FDA regarding problems with the device, that include pain, injury, and ultimately, hip failure.

The complaint alleges that the defendant knew about possible complications with the metal-on-metal hip, including “metallosis, biologic toxicity, and high failure rate,” as well as “tissue death, bone erosion, development of tumors” and “inflammation, pain, tissue and bone loss.”

New DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuit one of thousands

The Pinnacle Hip is not the first metal-on-metal hip replacement produced by DePuy that has caused problems. The defendant has already recalled the ASR XL Acetabular System and Hip Resurfacing System for similar problems. According to the complaint, “It is anticipated that Defendants will at some point recall Pinnacle Devices for the same reasons.” Though this version of the Pinnacle hip was removed from the market in 2012, DePuy has yet to issue a formal recall of the device.

Though the plaintiff is a resident of Henderson, NC, the case was filed directly to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas under Judge Ed Kinkeade to be considered for transfer to the multidistrict litigation (MDL 2244) taking place there. Already, close to 7,000 lawsuits regarding similar Pinnacle hip cases have been incorporated into the Dallas MDL. The litigation process was devised to facilitate a more efficient processing of the many cases and to encourage large-scale settlements with all of the plaintiffs, if possible.

  1. U.S. District Court,IN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation 3:11-md-02244
  2. Fox News, As lawsuits climb, J&J may have new hip trauma