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J&J Exec Defends DePuy Orthopedics All-Metal Hip Implants

Bellwether Trial for DePuy Orthopedics Pinnacle All-Metal Hip Implants Hears Exec’s Testimony

all-metal hip implantDuring the first bellwether trial for DePuy Orthopedics Pinnacle hip implant on Monday, September 15th, an executive from Johnson & Johnson defended the company’s decision to proceed with an all-metal hip implant device.

Pamela Plouhar, the worldwide vice president of clinical research at DePuy, faced intense scrutiny from the plaintiff’s attorneys in a Dallas federal court, where personal injury cases involving DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implant have been consolidated.

This first DePuy Pinnacle bellwether case, which began on September 1st, involves allegations from plaintiffs Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli and Toni M. Lay, who say that DePuy sold them unreasonably defective all-metal hip devices that were poorly designed and doomed to fail. Ms. Herlihy-Paoli received a Pinnacle 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.

Ms. Toni Lay, another plaintiff in the first bellwether trial, received her first DePuy Pinnacle in her right hip in 2006, followed by a second replacement hip the next year. Within four years of her first hip replacement surgery, her doctors found that she had dangerously high levels of cobalt and chromium in her bloodstream, and there was significant tissue death around the all-metal devices.

Plouhar was pressed for information about clinical studies involving the Pinnacle hip, or other all-metal hip devices. Although the Pinnacle all-metal hip implants were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, Plouhar admitted that the health effects of metal debris were poorly understood until 2001, because “no human study that looked at” the effects of metal pieces.

Prosecution produced evidence that as early as 2001, surgeons requested more information on the potential side-effects and injuries from DePuy’s Pinnacle hips.

This bellwether trial, and some others in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) against DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implant, will help Johnson & Johnson determine whether to proceed with further personal injury cases, or offer a settlement. Last year, DePuy settled another MDL involving their all-metal hip implant ASR, which featured 7,000 personal injury lawsuits alleging the same negligence and injuries as the Pinnacle device. DePuy settled those personal injury lawsuits for $2.5 billion.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with DePuy Pinnacle 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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