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Johnson & Johnson face suit for pinnacle hip replacements

Montana residents may have heard that Johnson and Johnson is making news because the company's DePuy pinnacle hip devices are reportedly defective. Versions of the artificial hip units that use metal on metal allegedly result in metal debris that can get into a patient's bloodstream and cause infection. Jury selection for the trial in Dallas began on September 2.

A 58-year-old Montana woman is involved in the suit after getting two pinnacle hips in 2009. The hips were removed in 2011, and 85 times higher levels of chromium and cobalt were found in her bloodstream. She seeks damages for loss of earnings, injuries, intentionally inflicting emotional distress and compensatory damages. An expert hired by the plaintiffs estimated JNJ could be liable for $5.78 billion in punitive damages, and a law school professor said the plaintiffs' lawyers may be able to scare the jury by focusing on the metal poisoning and mentioning increased cancer risks.

JNJ recalled 93,000 ASR hip implants after reporting that 12 percent of them failed within five years, but JNJ documents showed that 37 percent failed after 4.6 years. The company settled a lawsuit and paid $250,000 for each surgery and covered all medical expenses also, and JNJ agreed to give $1 billion to insurance providers who covered the surgeries. In total, the company paid up to $4 billion in damages for the suit.

Those who suffered injuries because of a defective product may be able to file a claim in civil court because a company that manufactured or designed a product could be liable for damages. An injured party may receive compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If a company knew about a defective product or otherwise acted especially irresponsibly, punitive damages may also be available.

Source: Bidness ETC, "Johnson & Johnson In Trouble Again", Hannah Ishmael, September 02, 2014

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