On Thursday, March 17th, 2016, a federal jury in Dallas ordered pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay roughly $502 million in damages to five plaintiffs who were injured by the company’s faulty Pinnacle hip implants. The replacement hips, manufactured by J&J subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, have been known to have a high failure rate due to their metal-on-metal design, causing patients to suffer complications such as metal poisoning, extreme pain, and severe damage to tissues in the surrounding region. According to the jury, J&J knew about the flaws in the devices but failed to provide doctors and patients with sufficient information about their risks. The verdict ranks as the second-largest jury award in the United States so far this year.
This decision could mean big trouble for the company in the near future. While this is J&J’s first loss over the products, approximately 8,000 lawsuits have been filed against J&J regarding its metal-on-metal hip implant design. These devices are not covered under the company’s nearly $3 billion settlement of claims stemming from the company’s other line of recalled ASR hip implants.
Despite the ruling, J&J continues to stand firmly by their design. A statement by the company claims that they “acted appropriately and responsibly in the design and testing” of the implants, and that the final design was the result of six years’ worth of R&D and testing.
This article originally appeared at The Whitley Law Firm blog.