A Texas jury recently awarded over $1 billion to patients with Johnson & Johnson Pinnacle artificial hips. The lawsuit alleged that the company knew that its artificial hips were flawed, yet allowed them to be sold anyway. Many of the patients had to have the defective hips surgically removed. This was the second time J&J lost in court because of its Pinnacle implants. The company is still facing nearly 9,000 similar lawsuits. It stopped selling the devices in 2013 after the FDA enhanced regulations governing artificial-hip implants.
According to court records, the DePuy unit of J&J, responsible for making the implants, had knowledge the medical devices were defective but did not warn doctors or patients about the risks. Studies showed that metal-on-metal prosthetics caused deterioration of human tissue and bone. The company knew the design was problematic, but pushed the product anyway, reaping billions of dollars in profit. The patients alleged that the hips leached cobalt and chromium into their bloodstream, leading to device failures and surgical removal that would otherwise have been unnecessary.
The jury awarded the plaintiffs over $30 million in compensatory damages. In addition, plaintiffs received over $1 billion in punitive damages, a type of remedy designed to punish a company for particularly egregious conduct. This is the third largest jury award of 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that punitive damage awards must be “proportional” to compensatory damage awards, and has limited punitive verdicts to 10 times the amount of a plaintiff’s actual damages.
J&J has been facing a series of losses in court over defective products. Six of the seven largest defective product verdicts this year have been awarded against Johnson & Johnson. Three of those cases stemmed from the link between the company’s talc products with increased rates of ovarian cancer by users. J&J settled another lawsuit for $2.5 billion for its ASR line of artificial hips. In 2010, the company recalled 93,000 ASR implants after 12 percent failed within five years.
Delaware Product Liability Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Victims of Defective Medical Devices
If you or someone you love has been injured by a defective medical device, the experienced Delaware product liability lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help you get answers and hold responsible parties accountable. Our aggressive products liability lawyers are committed to fighting for victims of defective products and defective medical devices. For help with your case, call us today at 302-888-1221 or contact us online. We provide free consultations.