More News About the DePuy Pinnacle Trial, Judge Has Updated the Verdict Amount
We apologize for the delay. Here is the latest update regarding the reduction of the verdict. In his ruling, the Judge reduced the jury’s punitive damage award to a multiple of approximately nine times the compensatory damages suffered by the six plaintiffs, in accordance with US Supreme Court precedent. The Plaintiffs are appealing this decision.
Hi, Stuart Talley here to do another update on the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip trials. If you’ve been following our videos, you know that recently there was a large verdict in the most recent DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip trial where there were six California plaintiffs who were suing DePuy and Johnson & Johnson, and there was a billion-dollar verdict in the case.
Recently, we received word from the judge that the verdict was going to be reduced. The verdict was originally about $1 billion, the combined verdict for all six is now about 500 million, and specifically the issue had to do with punitive damages. During the trial there was testimony that was given about a deferred prosecution agreement, and this was an agreement that Johnson & Johnson and DePuy signed where they agreed that they would pay money to the federal government because there were allegations that they were paying kickbacks or bribes to surgeons in order to get the surgeons to use their products.
They paid an $84 million penalty, and during trial when they were asked about that penalty, an individual at Johnson & Johnson, one of the employees or one of the spokesmen, said that the payment of $84 million was to get rid of the headache. And so, what happened was it appeared that the jury used that $84 million number as a number that was appropriate for punitive damages in the case. So, each plaintiff received a certain amount in compensatory damages, or the amount that was awarded to make that person whole: lost earnings, medical bills, pain and suffering…. The punitive damage part of the award is intended to punish defendant. So, what the jury did was each defendant was awarded an $84 million punitive damage verdict against them. So there was $84 million for DePuy, and $84 million for Johnson & Johnson, and that was for each of the plaintiffs. So, that’s multiplied of times 6.
There is a very famous Supreme Court case called “State Form” that deals specifically with punitive damages and the issue of whether punitive damages can be so great that it violates a defendant’s right to due process. In “State Form” what the Supreme Court said was that, punitive damage awards should never be more than 10 times the amount of someone’s compensatory damages. The judge, based on that decision, reduced the punitive damage awards so that they were 9 times the amount of each plaintiffs’ damages. So, what that did was it reduced the total verdict from about a billion dollars down to five hundred million.
This is still a very good result for the plaintiffs. On average, each plaintiff is… their total award is close to $100 million, which is very substantial in a case like this. Now, if you have a Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip and you have an attorney, or you don’t have an attorney, or you have any questions at all about the case, stay tuned to our blog. We provide regular updates. If you have any specific questions that you’d like to ask us, feel free to give us a call, send us an email, or you can fill out our online form on our website, and a lawyer will call you right back.