The news out of a Texas courtroom was not good news for the medical device giant Johnson & Johnson. For the second time, the company lost a huge medical device jury trial involving its Pinnacle artificial hip device.
Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a Texas jury to pay more than $1 billion to patients who claimed the company hid flaws in its Pinnacle artificial hips that had to be surgically removed, in J&J’s second loss linked to the implants.
The Texas jury punished J&J for failing to disclose to doctors and consumers the defects and failures related to its Pinnacle hip devices. The verdict includes more than $30 million in actual damages for the six plaintiffs and more than $1 billion in punitive damages, according to court filings.
J&J still faces more than 9,000 Pinnacle lawsuits. The company discontinued the devices in 2013 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration toughened artificial-hip regulations.
The $1 billion punitive damages verdict is the third largest jury verdict of the year. The verdict continues a losing stretch for J&J before U.S. juries. Six of the seven largest product-defect verdicts in the U.S. this year have been against J&J units, including three in lawsuits claiming its talc products cause ovarian cancer.
J&J won the first Pinnacle hip case to go to trial in October 2014 after a jury rejected a Montana woman’s claims that the devices were defective and gave her metal poisoning. In March, a Dallas jury ordered J&J to pay $502 million to a group of five patients who accused the company of hiding defects in the hips. A judge cut that verdict in July to about $150 million.
The Texas verdict is a clear victory for consumers and a warning to large medical device companies who are more concerned with profits than safety.
If you’re the victim of a depuy pinnacle hip injury, reach out to Joe Saunders for a free evaluation.