After a forty-two day trial, on March 17, 2016, jurors in the first Pinnacle case rendered $142 million in actual damages and $360 million in punitive damages totaling $502 million dollars for a group of Plaintiffs consisting of Margaret Aoki, Jay Christopher, Donald Greer, Richard Klusmann, and Robert Peterson. All of the Plaintiffs had Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hips that failed and had to be surgically removed (Petersen, et. al. vs. Johnson & Johnson). The jury concluded the device was defective and that the company officials knew of the flaws but failed to warn patients and doctors of the risks.
On July 25, 2016, Judge Ed Kinkeade entered Judgment in the 5 cases tried in Dallas earlier this year, but reduced the amount of the awards. In Texas, there are caps on damages, which were applied by Judge Kinkeade as they related to the punitive damage claims. Based on these statutory caps, Judge Kinkeade reduced the exemplary damage award from $120,000,000 against DePuy and $240,000,000 against Johnson & Johnson to $4,823,027 against each.
As anticipated, the Defendants immediately appealed.
The next round of cases to be tried involve six Plaintiffs from California.
- Jury questionnaires will be completed on Monday, September 19
- Jury selection will take place on Wednesday, September 21
- Opening statements and witness testimony will begin on September 26
- The Defendants filed a Mandamus with the Fifth Circuit requesting a stay of the upcoming trial. To date, there has been no ruling.
The Defendants also requested a continuance of the trial, which has been denied. According to the Court order, all other cases have been stayed in the MDL and the California cases filed in State Court are also stayed. There are about 8,000 cases nationwide asserting defects in the Pinnacle. J&J won the first Pinnacle case heard by a jury in 2014. The case is In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, 11-md-02244, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).
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