DALLAS – Six plaintiffs reaped a combined $247 million in damages following a trial against Johnson & Johnson over an allegedly defective hip implant device.
This was the fourth bellwether trial against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics, with a federal jury delivering their latest verdict Nov. 16.
In punitive damages alone, jurors awarded plaintiffs Ramon Alicea, Uriel Barzel, Karen Kirschner, Hazel Miura, Eugene Stevens Jr. and Michael Stevens a total of $168 million, court records show.
Still, the verdict is only a quarter of a verdict handed down a year ago.
Last December, a federal jury in Dallas hit the company with a $1 billion verdict on behalf of six plaintiffs who alleged failure in their Pinnacle, metal-on-metal hip replacements.
In the second trial, held in March 2015, the jury awarded $500 million to five individuals.
In 2014, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy won the first Pinnacle case when the court decided the lone plaintiff, Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli, suffered because an implant had been positioned improperly, and that DePuy was not to blame.
Johnson & Johnson has publically stated it will continue to battle the more than 8,000 lawsuits against it until a fair result can be achieved.
"We have no greater responsibility than to the patients who use our products" said Stela Meirelles, spokesperson for DePuy.
"We acted appropriately and responsibly in the development of ULTAMET Metal-on-Metal, and the device is backed by a strong record of clinical data showing reduced pain and restored mobility for patients suffering from chronic hip pain. We will immediately begin the appeal process and remain committed to the long-term defense of the allegations in these lawsuits.”
The companies stopped selling the implant in question in 2013.
Plaintiffs allege they suffered physical damage from the hip implants, including tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries. They contend the hip devices were designed improperly and that the company ignored the risks.
The cases are part of a MDL in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas, Dallas Division.
The plaintiffs are represented in part by Houston attorney Mark Lanier.
The defendants are represented in part by Tracie Renfroe, attorney for the Houston law firm King & Spalding.