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Texas Jury Awards Over $1B Against Johnson & Johnson in Hip Implant Lawsuit

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on December 05, 2016 11:57 AM

Jurors in Texas awarded six California plaintiffs $1.041 billion in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedic, over defective hip implants. It's another ignominious defeat for J&J, who've been hit with six of the seven largest jury awards this year, according to the American Bar Association.

It's also another in a long line of lawsuit losses for J&J and DePuy over their hip implants, which plaintiffs allege cause tissue death, bone erosion, and other injuries.

Not So Hip

The most recent jury verdict, which concerns DePuy's Pinnacle hip implants, is comprised of $32 million in compensatory damages, and the rest in punitive damages. The judge presiding over the case previously reduced a $500 million verdict regarding Pinnacle implants to $151 million, based on a Texas law limiting punitive damages awards. However, the present case was tried under California law, so the total monetary award may still stand.

According to Bloomberg, patients claimed the DePuy hip implants leached cobalt and chromium material into their bloodstreams, forcing them to have the defective devices surgically removed. They also alleged Johnson & Johnson officials knew the metal-on-metal design would cause such injuries but ignored concerns while generating billions of dollars in sales.

Their Name Is Mud

This is far from Johnson & Johnson's first loss when it comes to faulty hip implants. The ABA reports over 8,500 plaintiffs have sued J&J in Pinnacle implant cases, and the company already paid $2.5 billion in 2014 to settle DePuy ASR hip implant litigation. (This after shelling out $4 billion in 2013 to settle thousands of lawsuits over its recalled hip implants.)

"The jury is telling J&J that they better settle these cases soon," plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Lanier told Bloomberg. "All they are doing by trying more of these cases is driving up their costs and driving the company's reputation into the mud."

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