Update on Billion Dollar California Pinnacle Verdict
Hi it’s Stuart Talley here to provide another update on the ongoing Pinnacle metal on metal hip cases. We are still waiting for the appellate court to rule on the second appeal this is the case of the six California plaintiffs where the verdict was over a billion dollars oral argument happened in that case on June 11th and we are waiting for a decision on that case and typically the fifth circuit takes about 60 days to rule. So we should see something coming on that in August. As you may recall there was another appeal that was that’s already been decided. That was the case of the five Texas plaintiffs. In that case, the appellate court ruled that DePuy was entitled to a new trial and they have gone back to the trial court. And it appears at this point that a new trial will start in January of next year and that will be the same plaintiffs. It’ll essentially be the same trial this time.
There is some evidence that will not be admitted into the trial and that was the the reason why DePuy was granted a new trial. Now another issue that is occurring at the same time as there is discussion of remaining cases back to the district courts for trial and how that process will take place is still yet to be determined. But one of the things that the plaintiffs are seeking is what’s called trial preservation depositions.
Now that sort of give you some background there has been four trials in this case most of the evidence that the plaintiffs need to prove their case actually comes from DePuy executives and employees. And they’ve testified in four cases the problem that we have going forward and there’s two problems and the first one is that under the law. If I want to call a DePuy executive to testify in my case and that person lives more than a hundred miles from the courthouse where the case is pending I can’t bring him to the court. It’s impossible so what the rules allow is they allow me to play a videotape to the jury of the person’s deposition and that’s usually the way you get their testimony in to evidence. In a subsequent trial the problem is that the way questions are asked in a deposition are a lot different than the way they’re asked at trial the purpose of a deposition is really to gather information to get facts to find out what the person is going to say at trial. When you ask questions at trial it’s a lot different so let me give you an example.
Let’s say there’s a car accident and my client was was injured in a car accident and I’m deposing the person who hit my client. I might ask him you know how fast were you going at the time of the accident and he would say I don’t know I’d say well was it over 30 miles an hour it might have been well was it over 40 yeah. I might have been going over 40 was it 50 now maybe less okay then I’d ask him “well where were you going?” Well I was going to a friend’s house well “why were you going to a friend’s house?” Because I needed something I’d say “well what did you need?” And maybe you find out he was going to his friend’s house to buy drugs. Okay, so that’s how that testimony would come out in a deposition at trial. When that person’s on the stand I’m not going to be asking all of those questions the questions will be what we call leading questions and they will be questions like isn’t it true that at the time o the accident you were going over 40 miles an hour and he would have to say yes and isn’t it true that at the time of the accident you were on your way to your friend’s house to buy drugs isn’t that true. And he would have to say yes so the what happens in a deposition is a lot different than what happens at trial so what the plaintiffs want in this case is they want a chance to depose all of the witnesses all of the key executives that work for DePuy and depose them in a way that we’re asking those kinds of leading questions. The kinds of questions you would ask at trial because we’ve already taken their depositions. We know the facts we know what happened and now we want to have depositions that we can videotape. That can be used at trial and it will make the trial go much faster and it will allow us to get sort of the kind of questions in front of the jury that we want in subsequent trials. So that motion normally you’re only allowed to depose people once in a case so we filed a motion asking the judge to be able to take those trial.
Preservation depositions so we want a second shot to depose people, videotape them and then what can happen is any attorney in the country can take those videotapes can go to court play them to a jury and have a trial. And that’s sort of the entire purpose of this MDL process in these bellwether trials one purpose is to figure out what the settlement value is of cases but the other purpose is to gather the kinds of evidence that is needed to try a case to a jury and it’s very difficult to do that if you only have one client. But when you have thousands of clients all pooling their resources hundreds of attorneys pulling their resources you can sort of take on these big companies in a way that you normally couldn’t. So this getting these videotapes in an order that allows us to take these depositions as important to the case. If it’s not granted it’s not the end of the world because we still have deposition testimony it’s just not as good it’s not as clean it’s not as easy to present to a jury so that motion is pen it’ll probably be decided at the same time the judge decides what to do with the remanding of cases so that’s where we are right now. We’re still keeping our fingers crossed that at some point DePuy will come around and offer to settle the cases that are sitting out there. I think there’s a recognition at this point there should be on their part that these cases are not going away and that the only way to deal with them is to settle them or try them and trying them to a jury is just not an economically feasible model for DePuy. So that’s where we are.
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 stay tuned and we’ll tune in or we’ll have another video once we get a decision out of that 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on the next appeal.