Eight successful plaintiffs in In re DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation have called on the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals to consolidate all the appeals from two jointly-tried cases where juries found that the company knowingly sold a defective hip replacement.
Citing Fed. R. App. P. 3(b)(2) allowing appeals to be joined, the plaintiffs point out that the cases have the same MDL, defendants, lawyers, plaintiff injuries, evidence and witnesses. The appeals arise out of the second and third bellwether trials in MDL 2244 before US District Judge James Edgar Kinkeade in the Northern District of Texas. A total of 8,707 lawsuits are pending against DePuy in case No. 3:11-md-02244.
- J&J prevailed in the first Pinnacle hip case to go to trial in October 2014.
- In the second bellwether trial, a jury awarded $502 million to five of the patients in March 2016. The court cut the award to $150 million.
- In the third bellwether trial, a jury awarded $1.04 billion in December 2016. The judge cut the punitive damages portion of the award in half.
The only difference is that the law of Texas governed the second trial, and the law of California governed the third.
The plaintiffs were implanted with the hip devices and experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries they attributed to design flaws. Plaintiffs claimed the companies promoted the devices as lasting longer than devices that include ceramic or plastic materials.
The evidence demonstrated that:
(i) the Pinnacle Ultamet was defectively designed and marketed by Defendants.
(ii) Defendants failed to provide adequate warnings for the device.
(iii) Defendants failed to test the device in people before putting it on the market.
(iv) Defendants knew or should have known of the dangers of metal-on-metal hip implants.
(v) Defendants misrepresented or concealed material facts about the device.
(vi) Defendants polluted the scientific literature with fraudulent studies and biased doctors.
(vii) Defendants routinely used improper consulting agreements to induce orthopedic surgeons to use and market their products.
(viii) Defendants routinely prioritized marketing and sales over product safety.
The motion was filed by Kenneth W. Starr; The Lanier Law Firm, PC (W. Mark Lanier, Kevin Parker, M. Michelle Carreras); Fisher, Boyd, Johnson & Huguenard, LLP (Wayne Fisher, Justin Presnal); Neblett, Beard & Arsenault (Richard J. Arsenault, Jennifer M. Hoekstra); Simmons Hanly Conroy (Jayne Conroy, Andrea Bierstein), counsel for Plaintiffs-Appellees.