The third DePuy Pinnacle bellwether trial got off to a roaring start this week as Hon. Ed Kinkeade, District Judge for the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, took control of his courtroom to set the tone for the trial. According to reports, he flatly denied both a continuance and a motion for a mistrial delivered by defendant, Johnson & Johnson, in the first few minutes of the proceedings. After lunch, Judge Kinkeade penalized both sides for wasting time over a witness objection. Later, Judge Kinkeade called a break with a warning to Johnson & Johnson’s lawyer that if he did not stand while objecting, he would be chastised in front of the jury.

Johnson & Johnson’s attempts to delay the trial are not surprising, considering their multiple failed attempts to stop the bellwether trials altogether. In addition to the seven plaintiffs involved in this trial, there are approximately eight thousand additional plaintiffs waiting for their day in court, or a portion of any global settlement.

This third bellwether case is being tried under the laws of California, which may deliver a different outcome than prior cases in terms of monetary damages. In one of those cases, Texas was forced by its punitive damages caps to decrease a nearly $500 million jury award to $150 million—California has no such limitations. Accordingly, it will be interesting to see not only the outcome of this bellwether case, but also how the case will progress given its fiery start.

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 DePuy Pinnacle prosthetic, or similar hip or knee replacement systems, you should consult an attorney with experience in MDL litigation for mass tort injuries related to medical devices.