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DePuy Wins First Bellwether Suit Against Pinnacle All-Metal Hip Implant

DePuy Orthopedics Found Not Liable for Personal Injury in First Bellwether Case Against Pinnacle All-Metal Hip Implant

Pinnacle All-metal hipOn Thursday, October 23rd, a jury found DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, not liable for personal injuries caused by their Pinnacle all-metal hip implants.

The verdict against plaintiff Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli was unanimous. Ms. Herlihy-Paoli received a Pinnacle all-metal hip replacement device in 2009, but soon afterward she returned to her physician with complaints about pain at the surgical site. Her surgeon determined that the pieces of the all-metal hip device were rubbing together, destroying tissue and dislodging metal fragments, which released flakes of metal into the plaintiff’s bloodstream. In April 2011 – just two years after Herlihy-Paoli received the all-metal hip replacement – her surgeon had to remove the device.

DePuy had argued that Herlihy-Paoli’s surgeons positioned the Pinnacle hip incorrectly, and that led to the pieces grinding against each other, damaging her surrounding tissue and leeching metal particles into her blood stream.

The bellwether case was used to gauge the potential outcome of all 6,600 personal injury cases against DePuy’s Pinnacle all-metal hip implant. However, this is just the first one to go to trial – more will follow, and the outcome for DePuy may not be favorable next time.

The orthopedic company settled around 8,000 personal injury cases in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) last year, which involved accusations of similar injuries from the company’s all-metal hip implant model ASR. The company offered $4 million, or about $250,000 per plaintiff.

The FDA received 300 complaints regarding device failure and personal injury from the DePuy all-metal hip implants. An estimate suggested that around 35,000 all-metal DePuy ASR hip implants had been used on United States patients between 2006 and 2010, when DePuy recalled 93,000 units of the all-metal hip device. While the company claimed that the all-metal hip implants would last longer than other models of artificial hips, such as ceramic and metal or plastic and metal, the devices actually failed at a higher rate, often earlier than 5 years.

Several recent medical studies have backed up claims that DePuy’s all-metal hip implants cause serious personal injury. The most recent came from the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Emerging Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), which looked as thousands of patient files in European countries, and recommended that doctors and surgeons avoid using all-metal implants because of their injury and failure rate.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with DePuy Pinnacle All-Metal Personal Injury Cases

Side effects of failure in all-metal hip replacement devices, like the DePuy Pinnacle or Stryker, include:

  • Pseudotumors from metal debris
  • Allergic reactions
  • Permanent muscle and tissue damage
  • Loose hip cups
  • Hip dislocations
  • Bone fractures

If you or a loved one has received a metal hip replacement device, specifically such as the DePuy Pinnacle, and have since suffered painful side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.



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