Depuy Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Litigation Update

by John Chapman

Metal-on-Metal Implant Problems

Following the recall of 93,000 DePuy ASR hip implants in 2010, the FDA received numerous complaints about the DePuy Pinnacle hip-replacement system. Many patients have experienced early failure rates with their Pinnacle devices, forcing them to undergo painful corrective surgeries. In addition, because metal shavings are produced when the socket and ball components of a metal-on-metal implant rub against each other, metal hip implants can cause metallosis (metal poisoning) of the surrounding blood and tissues.

Federal Lawsuits Consolidated

Almost 2,000 lawsuits regarding defective hip implants are now part of In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2244). The lawsuits have been grouped together because the claims are so similar. As a result, all of the plaintiffs will jointly participate in discovery and other pre-trial procedures. However, each person’s individual lawsuit will be tried separately, and each plaintiff will receive a separate judgment or settlement.

FDA Explant Study Protocol

The FDA is requiring DePuy to conduct an explant study protocol as part of its post-market surveillance study of the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip replacements. On August 27, 2012, the federal court overseeing the federal DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits issued an order requiring counsel for plaintiffs and defendants (with the assistance of a Special Master) to attempt to reach an agreement on the content of a form letter DePuy can use to inform hospitals and surgeons who perform revision surgeries on patients with Pinnacle-brand products of the importance of their cooperating to preserve the explanted devices. The court also ordered DePuy to provide a list of hospitals and surgeons who will receive notification and ordered that Depuy is prohibited from sending its proposed notification of the post-market surveillance study to its list of hospitals and surgeons pending further order from the court.

Case Management/Scheduling Order

On Aug. 14, 2012, the court issued a Case Management Order for the DePuy hip implant MDL which sets out a schedule of deadlines leading up to the first bellwether trial. A “bellwether” trial is a case chosen for trial because it is considered to be average, normal or typical of the numerous other claims. The outcome of a bellwether trial is designed to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to similar evidence that will be presented in other cases, potentially even helping promote a broad settlement agreement of many cases regarding the hip implant.

The order includes the following deadlines:

  • Dec. 17, 2012: Plaintiff fact sheets for cases already transferred to the MDL.
  • January 2013: Depositions begin.
  • Sept. 2, 2013: Lawyers for both sides recommend 4 to 6 bellwether cases.
  • May 27, 2014: For the first bellwether case, expert and fact discovery should be completed.
  • Sept. 1, 2014: First bellwether case shall be ready for trial.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson

Heygood, Orr & Pearson is actively representing clients who have been injured as a result of defective hip implants. We have been and will be dedicating all resources necessary to pursuing these cases.

If you have been injured by a delinquent artificial joint manufacturer, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free case evaluation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free case evaluation form on this page.

by John Chapman

John Chapman is a licensed attorney with experience in complex commercial litigation (including securities fraud, RICO, shareholder oppression, and derivative actions) and personal injury litigation.