Appeals Update: Three-Judge-Panel Appointed
Hi, Stuart Talley here to provide another report on the ongoing Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip trials. Today, we learned who the three judges are who are going to decide the appeal in the second verdict that has come out of this litigation. If you’ve been following our blog, you know that there have been four cases that have gone to verdict. The second case resulted in a verdict of about 500 million dollars. That verdict is on appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. There’s a three-judge panel who was appointed to decide the appeal and the oral arguments on the appeal are going to be on December 7th. If you have access to the website for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, there’s actually a link where you can listen to the oral argument later in the day. They audiotape it and then they put it up on the website at the end of the day. So, the three judges who have been appointed to hear the case… The first one is Judge Jerry Edwin Smith. He went to Yale Law School. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan. There’s another, Judge Risa Hawkins Barksdale. He was appointed by the first President Bush. He is a University of Mississippi Law School graduate. And then, the third judge is Stephen A. Higginson. He’s also a Yale Law School graduate who was appointed by President Obama. So, those are the three judges involved in this appeal. The judge that has actually ruled or been involved in the case before is Judge Jerry Smith. Judge Smith was involved in a writ petition that was filed prior to the last case that went to trial. So, this was a case that recently went to trial and involved New York plaintiffs. The defendant, DePuy, filed an emergency writ with the appellate court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking them to put a halt to the trial because there was no jurisdiction. Judge Smith entered an order, which was a very strange order because he ruled essentially in favor of DePuy. He said that there was no jurisdiction but he also indicated that he didn’t have the authority to stop the trial from going forward because the issue of jurisdiction would have to be raised at the very end of the case. This was an unusual decision, and so far all we know about Judge Smith is that in the one case he’s dealt with that dealt with this defendant and this product he ruled in favor of DePuy. But the issues on this appeal are different than the issues he dealt with previously. Because the case that’s currently on appeal involved only Texas residents, jurisdiction is not an issue in the case. So, Judge Smith’s prior ruling probably will not have any impact on this decision. So, stay tuned after the oral argument we’ll provide another update, another video. Also if you have the ability or the time, you can go to the website and actually listen to it yourself. If you have any questions about the ongoing litigation, feel free to give us a call. You can reach us at the phone number on the screen, you can fill out one of our online forms and a lawyer will call you right back.