DePuy Wins Big Hip Implant Case

     DALLAS (CN) – DePuy Orthopedics won a bellwether products liability trial Thursday when a federal jury cleared it of liability for a woman’s injuries from its discontinued Pinnacle hip implants.
     DePuy – a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson – is facing several thousand such lawsuits for the metal-on-metal implant. The cases were consolidated in Dallas Federal Court under U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, according to the Courthouse News database.
     Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli sued in 2012, claiming the two Pinnacle implants she received in 2009 shed metal inside of her during use. Her Pinnacle claims are the first to have gone to trial.
     “Defendants knew, or should have known, of reports that metal-on-metal implants, such as the Pinnacle, generated unusually high amounts of metal debris over time due to unusual, premature or increased wear and tear,” her complaint stated. “This debris can spread throughout the surrounding bone and tissue and cause serious complications and damage.”
     During the two-month trial, DePuy argued that her Pinnacle hips were not properly implanted. It took jurors two days of deliberation to unanimously rule against Herlihy-Paoli and order she take nothing .
     Jurors declined to find negligence, strict liability or violations of the Montana Consumer Protection Act.
     DePuy spokeswoman Mindy Tinsley said the company is “pleased” with the verdict and that it “reflects the facts of a case.”
     “The evidence showed that ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal was designed to meet the needs of patients and is backed by clinical data showing a track record of safety and effectiveness in reducing pain and restoring mobility for patients suffering from chronic hip pain,” Tinsley said in a statement. “The company expects additional cases to be tried in the coming months and remains committed to the long-term and vigorous defense of the allegations in these lawsuits.”
     DePuy stopped selling Pinnacle implants last year. In 2010, it recalled the similar metal-on-metal ASR hip implants after reports of high failure rates.
     Several thousand lawsuits were filed over ASR. DePuy settled 7,000 of the claims last year for $2.5 billion.

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