The 5th District court in Texas recently denied a petition by defendants, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopedics, Inc., to grant an expedited appeal and to halt the next round of bellwether trials in the Pinnacle multidistrict litigation (MDL), which are currently scheduled to begin in early September 2016. The defendants filed the petition after losing the last bellwether trial earlier this year and getting hit with a jury award of $498 million dollars for five plaintiffs, who were injured from their metal-on-metal Pinnacle implants. The award was later reduced to $150 million dollars to meet the punitive damage caps in Texas.
“Only after losing the second bellwether trial did defendants object to the process,” Judge Kinkeade has said. “There are more than 8,000 pending cases in this MDL; the court cannot grant a stay every time plaintiffs win a trial.”
The hip socket prosthetics in question are cited as causing a toxic metal poisoning, metallosis, caused when flecks of metal enter the bloodstream or become embedded in tissue. The plaintiffs also claim the implants caused localized tissue inflammation and bone damage. The high number of plaintiffs in this matter resulted in an MDL consolidation centered in Texas with more than 8,000 cases from injuries related to the metal, ceramic, and polyethylene lining Pinnacle implants.
Based on the decision, it appears that the next round of bellwether cases, involving seven plaintiffs, will go forward, as scheduled, this September 2016.
Information on the MDL case: In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation.
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries from the Pinnacle prosthetic be sure to consult an attorney with experience in MDL litigation for mass tort injuries related to medical devices.