$1 Billion Jury Award for DePuy Metal Hip Implants

DALLAS (CN) – A federal jury ordered DePuy Orthopaedics and its corporate parent Johnson & Johnson on Thursday to pay more than $1 billion to six California plaintiffs for Pinnacle artificial hips that poison them when the metal components wear and shed.

The nine-member jury deliberated for more than eight hours before awarding $32 million in actual damages and more than $1 billion in punitive damages for the metal-on-metal implants. They concluded the implants were defectively designed and the defendants failed to warn consumers of the risks.

The 10-week trial was the third bellwether Pinnacle case to go to trial before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade. Several thousand similar lawsuits have been filed against both companies, which have been consolidated in Dallas for multidistrict litigation.

The $1 billion verdict dwarfs previous Pinnacle verdicts.

In the first case to go to trial, in October 2014, the companies were cleared of liability and the plaintiffs took nothing.

The second case went to trial nine months ago, resulting in a $498 million verdict for five Texans who said they suffer from several medical complications due to the implants.

DePuy did not immediately respond to an email message requesting comment late Thursday evening.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, W. Mark Lanier in Houston, called the verdict a “loud and clear” message that the defendants have “a really nasty part of their business they need to clean up.”

DePuy stopped selling the Pinnacle implants in 2013.