The Verdict Is in on Another DePuy Pinnacle Hip Trial
Hi, this is Stuart Talley here to do an update on the ongoing Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip trial. We have some breaking news today. We have a verdict in the case that is currently pending in Dallas, Texas. This is a case that was brought on behalf of six individual plaintiffs who had metal-on-metal pinnacle hips that had to be revised. All of the plaintiffs reside in New York, and New York law applied to the case. The jury came in with a verdict of $247 million dollars combined for the six individuals. Of the $247 million, $90 million of the verdict was for punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson, which is the parent company of DePuy, and there was a punitive damage verdict of $78 million against DePuy. The remaining $77 million was for compensatory damages for the six individuals. So, on average that comes to about 11 million dollars per plaintiff. The verdict in this case was actually somewhat of a surprise that the punitive damages came in as high as they did. In this trial, the judge refused to admit a lot of the inflammatory evidence that was admitted in previous trials. There was a lot of emails, internal emails, and evidence about DePuy and Johnson & Johnson’s bad conduct that came in and the two other bellwether trials where there were large verdicts, and in this case the judge specifically excluded that information from evidence. But despite that, the jury came back with a pretty sizable punitive damage award for the plaintiffs. Now, if you’ve been following our blog, you know that this case has already been the subject of some commentary from the appellate courts. At one point, before the trial started, DePuy filed an appeal requesting that the appellate court not allow the trial to go forward because there was no jurisdiction over Johnson & Johnson and DePuy in the court in Texas. The argument was that the trial shouldn’t take place in Texas. It should take place in New York, and that only the New York Court has jurisdiction. The appellate court denied that request, but in doing so they entered what I call a an advisory opinion. Where they indicated that there was no jurisdiction, but the issue of whether there was jurisdiction or not needed to be addressed after the whole case was over. So, DePuy is feeling confident that this verdict will be overturned, but at the end of the day, the purpose of these bellwether trials is really not to get six people paid. I mean that’s what happened, but that’s not really the purpose of having bellwether trials. The purpose of bellwether trials is to set value on the cases. DePuy has now been hit with three, what I would call, enormous verdicts, all of which had punitive damages. This is just the latest one. There was a group of Texas residents, a group of California residents, and now a group of New York residents. So, what the plaintiffs have demonstrated is that no matter what state law applies, whether it’s New York, California or Texas, the conduct that took place in this case, jurors are going to punish that conduct. And that’s what we’ve seen in these cases so far. So, it’s possible that this verdict might get overturned on jurisdictional grounds, but it sends the message. It sends the message to DePuy that they have to deal with this. There’s 9,000 additional cases that have to be resolved at some point. And every time there’s one of these big verdicts, it makes it more difficult to settle the 9,000 cases that are out there because many people will want their day in court. So, this is a, what I would say, is a good verdict for the plaintiffs. It’s smaller than the other verdicts, but it’s important to understand that a lot of the evidence that was presented in the other trials didn’t come into this trial. So, stay tuned. The two cases where we did have verdicts, the California plaintiffs and the Texas plaintiffs, those cases are still on appeal. There will… I predict that it’s unlikely there will be any major settlement discussions for resolving the remaining cases until those appeals are decided. We’ll see what happens. But once we get word on what’s happening with those appeals or there’s any developments in any of these cases, we’ll update our blog. If you have any questions about the litigation, or how it’s going, or what this means, you could always call us. You could 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. So, stay tuned and hopefully there’ll be some more good developments in the case.