The DePuy Pinnacle Defense Attorney Has Delivered an Opening Statement
This is Stuart Talley here to do another update on the ongoing Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip trial that is currently going on right now in Dallas, Texas. If you’ve been following our blog, you know that this is a case for six individuals all from New York, and we heard today the opening statement of the defense attorney. The defense attorney in his opening went through the history of the development of the metal-on-metal hip and spent a lot of time talking about how in the 90s there was a problem with metal-on-plastic hips in the sense that the plastic would wear out and cause a condition called osteolysis. That’s where plastic particles come off a hip and it affects the bone around the hip and that’s the primary reason why most metal-on-plastic hips need to be revised. Typically the problem occurs 15 to 20 years after the hip is put in, and so what the defense attorney spoke about was how there was this desire in the 90s and early 2000 time period to develop something that would reduce wear debris and so the idea of the metal on metal hip came up and that’s what they went with essentially. He made one statement at one point which I found interesting he said that the pinnacle hip replacement system was the best hip that had ever been developed and I think it’s going to be difficult for him to prove that at trial, but we’ll see what they come up with. The big thing he pointed out was that the Pinnacle hip system gave the surgeon the choice of using plastic, ceramic or metal in the cup and that was sort of the great development of the Pinnacle. He also spoke about and addressed directly the manufacturing defect issues that was brought up by the plaintiff’s attorney and his open statement. The plaintiff’s attorney pointed to several manufacturing issues with the pinnacle that he alleged increases the problems with the hip, and if you look at some of our older blogs you can find out the information about that manufacturing defect. What the defense attorney said was that there was no expert that was going to come in and say that any of the plaintiffs hip actually had that manufacturing defect, and so we’ll see how that plays out. That could be an issue for the plaintiffs if there is no testimony or evidence that the individuals hip may have been impacted by a manufacturing defect, but we’ll see how that comes out. The other thing he spoke a lot about was how the jurors had to put themselves in the shoes of DePuy the on the date of the surgery of each plaintiff. So what did the company know in 2006, when one of the plaintiffs had his surgery? What did the company know in 2008 when the plaintiff had a surgery? And what he said was that the clinical data and the information out there in the clinical studies on the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip was excellent, I think is what he said, on the dates of each of these surgeries. And it wasn’t until later that the company discovered there were problems. Based on what’s been testified to in other cases, other Pinnacle cases, I think it’s gonna be very difficult for DePuy to show that they didn’t have knowledge of problems with this hip before the dates of the surgeries. But that is that’s what the defense attorney pointed out in his opening statement. The other thing he talked about was how before the hips were put in these plaintiffs, they had done very well and there had been 90,000 successful hip implants throughout the world. And that’s significant that he said that in his opening, and the reason it’s significant is, and this point was made up the opening, there was argument in front of the judge without the jury present about whether that opened the door to some evidence that DePuy does not want admitted. And specifically there’s evidence of bribes that were paid to doctors in Europe that DePuy actually pled guilty to. And the plaintiff’s attorney argued that, hey, if he’s going to come in and say that they sold 90,000 that means it’s a good product, then we should be able to show why they sold 90,000 and if they were able to sell so many because they were paying bribes to doctors in Europe that’s evidence that the plaintiffs should be able to admit at trial. The judge didn’t rule on that issue and said he would think about it. So we’ll see what happens on that in the future. This idea of bribes that’s evidence that’s come out in other trials and that’s a big issue on appeal right now and some of the earlier pinnacle trials, but we’ll see how the judge comes out in this case. If you have a metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip, you have any questions about what’s going on with the case, feel free to give us a call. You can reach us at the phone number on the screen, you can fill out our online form and a lawyer will call you right back.