The first trial in the DePuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal hip multidistrict litigation (MDL) is scheduled to start on Sept. 2, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. It will be the first “bellwether” trial for the DePuy Pinnacle cases. Bellwether trials are designed to help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their cases. In general, the Pinnacle cases are much stronger than many previously believed them to be. During discovery, strong evidence was uncovered that proved Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy, were well aware that the Pinnacle device was defective.
The scheduled trial involves a bilateral Pinnacle metal-on-metal device. Both of the Plaintiff’s hips were implanted with a Pinnacle metal cup, Ultamet metal liner and metal head. The Plaintiff was required to undergo a revision surgery on each hip to remove the failed Pinnacle device due to cup loosening and metallosis (metal poisoning)..
Three other bellwether trials are also scheduled – one in November of this year – and two in January and March of next year. Our firm has one case included in the pool of cases from which the January and March cases will be selected. Bellwether trials are a vital part of the MDL litigation process and will impact all Pinnacle cases. The bellwether process also provides information about how jurors will respond and react to each side’s arguments. The outcome of bellwether trials can provide direction to both Defendants and Plaintiffs, particularly in personal injury cases, as to whether it might be more prudent to reach a settlement rather than go to trial.
Currently, more than 6,000 product liability lawsuits are in Pinnacle MDL before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade. Each complaint makes similar allegations against DePuy for injuries sustained from the metal-on-metal Pinnacle device. Specifically, the claims are that the Pinnacle device was defectively designed or manufactured and inadequate warnings were provided about the risk of early complications or problems. Patients have reported issues similar to those reported in DePuy ASR patients, including pain, swelling, component loosening and need for premature revision surgery. A danger for metallosis also exists, a condition involving the build-up of metallic debris in the soft tissues of the body.
Anyone implanted with a metal-on-metal hip implant should have his or her case investigated to determine its merits. If you need more information, contact Navan Ward, a lawyer in our firm who is heavily involved in this litigation, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Navan.Ward@beasleyallen.com. Navan will be happy to help any person who needs more information or has a potential hip claim. Feel free to contact him.
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