The fourth bellwether trial involving J&J’s metal-on-metal hip implants started last month in a Texas federal court. Six Plaintiffs told the federal jury that a money-driven Johnson & Johnson pushed a dangerous metal-on-metal hip implant into the world that it knew wouldn’t work well and that was defectively manufactured, in the fourth bellwether trial in multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the devices.
In the fourth matchup between Plaintiffs’ lawyer Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm and J&J and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. over the Pinnacle Ultamet line of metal-on-metal hip implants, six New York Plaintiffs and four of their spouses allege that the devices were designed based on problematic research, made with “shoddy equipment,” and that DePuy and J&J failed to provide adequate warnings about problems with the safety of the devices and made highly misleading marketing claims about the success of the product.
The two most recent trials ended in massive verdicts for California and Texas Plaintiffs, and J&J and DePuy defeated claims of wrongdoing in the first bellwether. The Plaintiffs claim that J&J and DePuy are liable for negligence, strict liability, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent business acts and practices and breach of express and implied warranty, and are seeking punitive damages in the trial.
The Plaintiffs allege that J&J didn’t warn surgeons or patients about the risks of metal rubbing against metal and causing microscopic metal particles to be shed into their bodies, leading to serious complications and necessitating follow-up surgeries.
This is the fourth bellwether trial involving the Pinnacle line of metal-on-metal hip implants. The first involved a single Plaintiff from Montana and ended in a Defense win. The second, involving five Plaintiffs from Texas, ended in a $502 million verdict that was reduced to about $150 million. And the third, involving six Plaintiffs from California, ended in December with a more than $1 billion verdict, later reduced to about $543 million.
Although Judge Kinkeade initially told the parties to prepare 10 cases involving Plaintiffs from New York and New Jersey for the fourth bellwether, only six Plaintiffs remain, all from New York, after several Plaintiffs withdrew from the case and one case was dismissed on summary judgment. More than 9,100 cases remain in the MDL.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm, Richard Arsenault of Neblett Beard & Arsenault, Wayne Fisher of Fisher Boyd Johnson & Huguenard LLP, and Jayne Conroy of Simmons Hanly Conroy. The consolidated cases are: Alicea et al. v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. et al., (case number 3:15-cv-03489), Barzel v. DePuy et al. (case number 3:16-cv-01245), Kirschner v. DePuy et al., (case number3:16-cv-01526), Miura v. DePuy et al., (case number 3:13-cv-04119), Stevens v. DePuy et al., (case number 3:14-cv-01776), and Stevens v. DePuy et al., (case number 3:14-cv-02341), in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
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