Jury Clears J&J in Depuy Pinnacle Trial- Kershaw Talley Update
Hi, this is Stuart Talley. I’m the partner here responsible for the DePuy Pinnacle metal on metal hip cases. The reason we’re doing this video today is to provide an update to the ongoing trial that is pending, or was pending, in Dallas, Texas.
This was the first of more than 6,000 cases that are now pending in Dallas that were brought by people who have metal on metal Pinnacle hips that have had problems with those hips. Unfortunately, we learned today that the jury came back and awarded a verdict in favor of the defendants. What that means is that the plaintiff lost their case and will be receiving nothing. A lot of people out there probably have questioned how this could have happened.
Following the trial, what I can tell you, is that the plaintiffs put on a very good case. That this was a hip that was defective. It was a hip that was not adequately tested. It was put on the market before it should have been. That it was a company that really was really motivated by profit than than the safety of their patients. Unfortunately, what made this case unique and different, was it had causation issues.
So, I think the plaintiff did a very good job presenting a case that this was a bad hip. But, in order to win, you have to prove that that bad hip caused damages. When we’re talking about causing damages, that’s where the case, I think, fell apart. This case was unique. What made it unique was that the plaintiff had two hips, both metal on metal Pinnacles, and when those hips were put in, the surgeon put them in at very extreme angles. And when I say angles, what I am talking about is the angle of the cup. There’s two different angles a cup can be put in. There’s the up and down angle and the forward and back angle. These hips are designed to be put in at 45 degree angles. Unfortunately, because of the plaintiff’s unique physical stature and a disorder that she had, the surgeon had to put the hips in at a very steep angle.
What DePuy did was they blamed all of the problems the plaintiff had on the fact that these hips were put in at a steep angle. And they had some very powerful evidence on their side. Because what ended up happening was, the plaintiff had lots of problems with these hips. Had very high cobalt chromium. Over 400 parts per billion. That’s the highest I have ever heard of. We have hundreds of cases. I have never seen anything that high. I think that is a testament for how extreme the angle was on these cups.
Now, both hips were replaced. With respect to the first hip, the surgeon did not change the angle of the cup. All he did was replace the metal liner inside the cup with a plastic liner. On the other hip that was replaced, the surgeon decided to change the angle of the cup. He changed the angle of the cup and put a plastic liner in. So what you ended up with was a situation where the plaintiff had a hip at an extreme angle with a plastic liner and one at the right angle, or a more appropriate angle with a plastic liner.
What happened that really sort of hurt the plaintiffs case was, as we got toward trial, I think this happened a month or two before trial, the plaintiff had a catastrophic failure of the hip that was at the extreme angle. This is the revised hip. What happened was the plastic liner shattered inside the hip. What this did is it gave DePuy a very powerful argument that the reason the hip failed was because of the extreme angle and the fact that if the hip had been a metal on plastic hip, as the plaintiff alleged it should have been, she still would of had these problems. So the argument that the defendants made was, look, if this was a metal on plastic hip from the very beginning, she would have had to have all these surgeries anyway because the plastic would of shattered because the hips were at such an extreme angle.
Rather than sort of, sending a message that this is a good hip and that DePuy did everything right, in my opinion, what this case does is it really says that this woman, who brought this case, had a problem with causation. I don’t have any cases where I have a client that has hips that were put in at an extreme angle such as the one that was presented in this trial. Even though the plaintiffs verdict would have been nice for the plaintiffs, I don’t think that the defense verdict really changes the equation too much. This case was an outlier. I don’t think its representative of the vast majority of cases that have been filed. And I think, what’s going to happen, is we are going to have to have a couple more trials to really know where these cases are going to go.
It is my understanding that the next trial is suppose to take place in late November or early December. We will see if that trial date sticks. Sometimes trials get moved, especially if you have a schedule in place and the first one takes longer than expected. Hopefully down the road we will start to see some plaintiffs verdicts and some more representative cases. If we have more representative cases and we ended up with the same verdict, I might be concerned. But at this point, I’m not.
If you have a metal on metal Pinnacle case or a metal on metal Pinnacle hip, we’re still taking cases. The cases still have merit. If you have one of these hips, give us a call. You can reach us at the phone number on your screen. Or you can visit our website and fill out one of our online forms.