Hi, this is Stuart Talley providing another update on the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip cases that are currently being tried in Dallas, Texas. Today, we received an order from the trial court judge indicating that he was denying all of the post-trial motions that had been filed by DePuy to overturn the verdict that occurred in the second bellwether trial.
In the same order, he also addressed DePuy’s request that the litigation be stayed while they appeal the verdict in that second bellwether trial. The judge denied the request to stay the litigation pending their appeal. Specifically, the defendants asked for a stay of the cases that are supposed to go to trial in September. In September, there will be seven cases tried to a jury; a single jury and seven individual plaintiffs, all of whom are California residents.
In the order, the judge was very adamant that he was not going to stay the litigation. He indicated that there are approximately 8,000 cases pending; cases pending more than five years. And if the judge stayed the case every time the defendant lost a trial, the litigation would take an eternity to resolve. In his order, he also noted that the average age of individuals who have a DePuy Pinnacle hip case is 68 years old. The judge was very mindful of the fact that he needed to move the cases forward.
With respect to the numerous evidentiary objections that DePuy raised in the underlying trial, the judge was very dismissive of those objections. In other words, in the order he indicated he did not believe that DePuy really had any chance to win their appeal, which you would expect from a trial court judge whose decisions are being appealed to a higher court. In the order, he referenced the fact of DePuy’s effort to introduce testimony that their product performed well in Europe, that there was good published literature, and that they’re a good corporate citizen. The fact that DePuy attempted to introduce that evidence opened the door to much of the evidence they objected to at trial.
So, the judge was good in explaining his decisions and why he was not going to stay the litigation. As I mentioned, the next trial is coming up in September with seven individual California plaintiffs. This next trial is significant because there are no caps on punitive damages. We could see a big verdict if the plaintiffs do well at trial.
Stay tuned. We still have a decision from the fifth circuit court of appeals who is considering the decision. We will provide another update once we hear from the appellate court to determine if the case will move forward in September or if it will stay the litigation.