Opening Statements Have Begun for the Pinnacle Trial in Dallas
Hi, Stuart Talley here to do an update on the ongoing Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip trial. Today there was opening statements in the case, and we first heard from the plaintiffs attorney, who really sort of took a new approach in this case. This is the fourth Pinnacle trial and there was a new argument that was made during opening statements that we haven’t seen before. The plaintiff’s attorney went through the typical arguments that he has made in other cases, which is the fact that this was a hip that was based on poor technology, that it was a hip that had failed, metal-on-metal had failed in the past, and that the company purely to get market share, decided to come out with a metal-on-metal hip even though they knew that metal-on-metal hips were inferior to metal-on-plastic hips. He also discussed the fact that many doctors had complained of problems and raised them multiple times, but despite that what DePuy did was they attacked the doctors. They called the doctors bad surgeons, tried to make the doctors look bad. And so, those are the arguments that we’ve seen in other cases. He also talked about the marketing of the hip, how the marketing was deceptive, and some of the tests that they ran in clinical studies they had done actually produced fraudulent results. The thing that made this opening statement different from all the other cases was there was a discussion of what we call a manufacturing defect. The plaintiffs attorney went into great length about how the manufacturing process for the metal-on-metal hips was flawed, and actually did not conform to DePuy’s own specifications and the specifications that they submitted to the FDA to get approval to sell hip. Specifically, he discussed the fact that these hips in order to prevent wear and prevent ions from being released, they have to be coated with a specific kind of chemical. And apparently the company was using different chemicals to coat the hip, to coat the metal. They were supposed to use nitric acid and instead they used citric acid, and apparently that makes a big difference in the performance of a hip. The discussion during opening was that the hip produced five times as many ions with this inferior coating. There was also discussion about how some of the hips were made using a softer metal than what was originally included in the specifications. The softer the metal the more wear you’re going to have. There was also a discussion about the size of the balls and the head. In order for this hip to work correctly, the ball has to be the perfect size to fit within the cup or the head, or I’m sorry the cup or the shell. We call it the shell. They have to be a perfect fit. And what DePuy was doing was they would polish that head, that’s the ball, and while the ball was still hot from the polishing procedure, they would measure it to make sure it was the right size. Well apparently what happens is the ball as it cools, changes sizes and that can make a big difference at the end of the day. And so this new manufacturing defect argument is something we haven’t seen in any of the other cases. And it will be interesting to see how that plays out at the trial with the experts. Presumably there will be some testimony that the specific plaintiffs in this case, there’s five plaintiffs, all New York residents… There will be specific testimony about how their hips did not conform to the specifications that DePuy had internally and the specifications they provided to the FDA to get the hip approved. So that was the plaintiffs opening statement. We’ll have some more videos later on where we discuss what the defendants are going to say. We’ve seen the arguments before on the defense side. They like to point out to the jury that all hips fail, all hips generate debris and without really explaining that there is a difference between plastic debris and metal debris. But this is the argument they have made in the past and I expect to see it again. It’ll also be interesting to see what they have to say about the manufacturing defect. So, stay tuned, we’ll have another update soon. We’ll try to do these as often as we can. Sometimes it’s difficult because we have a lot of stuff going on here, but if you have a Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip, you have any questions about the litigation about the trial, you can always call us. 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.