For the last 2 months, a Texan federal jury, has been hearing evidence concerning the Pinnacle Ultamet metal on metal hip implant, a product manufactured and distributed by Depuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of multinational company Johnson & Johnson.
On 17 March 2016, the US jury returned a verdict against Depuy Orthopaedics, finding that the company’s flagship metal-on-metal hip implant, the Pinnacle Ultamet, had been defectively designed.
The US verdict now requires Depuy to pay compensation in excess of $490million to the 5 individuals all of whom alleged that they had suffered life altering injuries and significant financial losses as a result of their implantation with Depuy’s device.
Prior to the product’s discontinuation during August 2013, Depuy’s Pinnacle Ultamet device was implanted in more than 11,000 individuals across the UK.
Leigh Day are lead solicitors acting on behalf of more than 330 individuals, all of whom allege that they have suffered injuries as a result of their exposure to metal debris released from these devices.
Boz Michalowska, who is leading the UK group action, commented: “This latest verdict from the US is highly significant. For the last 2 months Depuy has been in Court to try and defend their Pinnacle Ultamet device. In finding against Depuy, and requiring the company to pay in excess of 490million USD, the US jury has clearly found Depuy’s defence wanting.
"Crucially, all of the individuals whom we represent in the UK were implanted with the same Pinnacle Ultamet device – and all of the individuals within our group have suffered injuries similar to those experienced by their US counterparts. Whilst this latest US judgment has no direct legal impact upon the case that we are continuing to fight in the UK - this verdict underlines the fact that the case against Depuy, in respect of their Pinnacle Ultamet product, is very strong.
"As we continue to prepare our case against Depuy in the UK we will be scrutinizing the considerable amount of internal data and expert evidence that Depuy has been compelled to produce in open Court in the US in order to defend its product.”
This second judgment in favour of the plaintiffs follows a first 'bellwether trial' during October 2014 in which the jury found in favour of Depuy.
It is reported that Johnson and Johnson has confirmed that the company plans to appeal this latest US verdict.
The UK case is currently scheduled to come to trial at then end of 2017.