• Reuters


A federal jury in Dallas on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit to pay $247 million to six patients who said they were injured by defective Pinnacle hip implants.

Delivering the third straight win to patients against the companies, the jury found that the metal-on-metal hip implants were defectively designed and that the companies failed to warn consumers about the risks.

Six New York residents implanted with the hip devices said they experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries they blamed on design flaws.

J&J, which faces more than 9,700 Pinnacle lawsuits in state and federal courts across the United States, said in a statement it would immediately begin the appeal process.

A DePuy spokeswoman said the company was still “committed to the long-term defense of the allegations in these lawsuits,” adding that the metal-on-metal hip implants were backed by a strong record of clinical data showing they were effective.

Plaintiffs claimed the companies falsely promoted the device, most commonly used to treat joint failure caused by osteoarthritis, by saying it lasted longer than similar implants that include ceramic or plastic materials.

Mark Lanier and Jayne Conroy, who represented the New York patients, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Thursday’s verdict came in the fourth test trial over the devices in Dallas federal court, where some 9,000 of the cases are pending. Test cases have been selected for trial, and their outcomes will help gauge the value of the remaining claims and inform potential settlement talks.

J&J won the first Pinnacle test trial in 2014, but subsequent juries determined the companies to be liable.

Ahead of the trial, plaintiffs and the company were sparring over federal judge Edward Kinkeade’s ability to preside over it. J&J said the judge had abused his power by trying the cases in his court and urged an appeals court to stop Kinkeade from going ahead with it.

But the appeals court judges, while finding error in some of Kinkeade’s conduct, allowed the trial, which kicked off on Sept. 18, to go ahead.

“This nine-week trial was a disservice to everyone involved because the verdict will do nothing to advance the ultimate resolution of this six-year old litigation,” attorney John Beisner, who represented the companies, said in a statement. Beisner said the firms would seek further appellate guidance.

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