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Breaking News: Jury Awards Plaintiffs $500 Million in DePuy Pinnacle Trial

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Hi, this is Stuart Talley.  We have some  breaking news about the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip trial currently pending in Dallas, Texas.  We received word the jury has come back with  probably the biggest verdict  in any hip case to date.

The verdict came back at $498  million dollars against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy.  This case was brought on behalf of  five individuals . If you look at the verdict, it was $498 million and approximately $360 million of that was punitive damages, and the rest was compensatory damages for each of the five plaintiffs.  The average compensatory verdict for these five plaintiffs was about $27 million dollars.

With respect to similar cases, that have gone to trial, this is by far the largest  compensatory verdict.  It’s also the largest punitive damage award to date.  Many attorneys, including myself, who have been watching this trial  are not really surprised by this outcome. The trial went very well for the plaintiffs.

The evidence that came out  was shocking  in regards to  what DePuy did with the Pinnacle hip. There were lots of emails and internal documents showing DePuy actively tried to conceal problems  with these hips from doctors . They engaged in nefarious  conduct  in terms of the marketing of  this product. There were allegations that clinical trials  were falsified, and advertising was based on these falsified clinical trials.  A  lot of doctors were bribed and given money to  use this hip and tell other doctors it was a great  deal.  Some doctors received millions of dollars. One of the main witnesses received  for the defense received over $7.5 million dollars in royalties from DePuy.

We have a verdict which is a positive development in the case  for plaintiffs.  Many have asked us, “What happens next?” I can tell you that DePuy has said they would never settle  these cases. This was the position they took  at the very beginning. They took the position that this hip was different than  their other metal-on-metal hip, the DePuy ASR.  The problem with not wanting to settle cases is that if you keeping getting hit with a $500 million dollar verdict, you cannot keep that up.  Johnson & Johnson has to  face that not only was there a $500 million dollar verdict in this case,  but also that there are  8,000 more cases. If DePuy keeps trying cases, and even if they win  90%  of those cases,  if they get hit with a $500 million dollar verdict  (every  one  of a  hundred  cases), that’s a large problem for the company.

So, this verdict puts a lot of pressure on DePuy : shareholders will  start to ask questions and they are under pressure to  resolve this.  The one concern I have is that Johnson & Johnson may have some hope in appealing this verdict and they will certainly appeal it. There were some controversial rulings by Judge Kinkeade, and they are thinking they can get this verdict overturned.  However, the issue for DePuy is that this  is a two year deal. It takes at least  two years for an appeals process of this  magnitude.  In the meantime, there are  upcoming trials.  Judge Kinkeade has indicated  that he wants  another five cases lined up for the Fall.  This puts a lot of pressure on DePuy to come up with a reasonable solution to this problem.

The other problem  is the defense costs.  When you defend one of these cases,  even if  Johnson & Johnson wins one of these  trials,  they are spending millions of dollars on each trial.  They spent millions of dollars on experts for this first trial. They have a team  of lawyers who are billing them $600-$1000 an hour  in the courtroom  everyday for  10 weeks. Those costs add up.

This verdict is very good for the plaintiffs .  It definitely is encouraging and hopefully will bring DePuy and Johnson & Johnson  to the table  to compensate people with  legitimate  claims. If you have a DePuy Pinnacle hip, and have questions about the trial and verdict, feel free to give us a call toll free at 888-997-5170 and we will get back to you immediately.  Thank you.

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