A federal jury in Dallas, Texas has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopedics unit to pay more than $1 billion to patients who claimed to have been injured by the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants.
The six plaintiffs said that the companies hid the flaws in the artificial hips, which caused them injuries that required them to undergo surgery.
The federal jury on Thursday determined that officials of DePuy Orthopedics, which makes the Pinnacle hips, were aware about the defects but failed to give proper warning to doctors and patients about the risk that the hip replacement would fail.
The plaintiffs, all California residents, were implanted with the hip devices but, due to design flaws, experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries. They said that the companies that promoted the devices claimed that these last longer than devices made of ceramic and plastic materials.
Third Largest Jury Award Of The Year
The six plaintiffs were awarded more than $1 billion. Data compiled by Bloomberg show that the $1.04 billion in compensatory and punitive damages is the third largest jury award of 2016.
The jury's decision marks J&J's second loss linked to its hip implants. It still faces more than 8,000 lawsuits associated with the Pinnacle hips.
"The jury is telling J&J that they better settle these cases soon," said Mark Lanier, the plaintiffs' lawyer. "All they are doing by trying more of these cases is driving up their costs and driving the company's reputation into the mud."
J&J And DePuy To Challenge Verdict
J&J and its DePuy unit denied any wrongdoing in the development and marketing of the devices. In a statement released on Thursday, the companies said that they will challenge the verdict, saying that they have strong grounds for appeal and that they are committed to giving long-term defense to the allegations.
"DePuy acted appropriately and responsibly in the design and testing of ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal, and the product is backed by a strong track record of clinical data showing reduced pain and restored mobility for patients suffering from chronic hip pain," said DePuy spokesperson Mindy Tinsley.
Other Lawsuits Faced By Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson faces a string of lawsuits related to its products. Of the seven largest product-defect verdicts in the United States this year, six have been against J&J units. Three of these were lawsuits that claim the company's talc products cause ovarian cancer.