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Victims of defective metal-on-metal hip implants win verdict

Total hip replacements are often performed to help resolve the pain and loss of movement associated with osteoarthritis, or cartilage and bone disease. This involves replacing both the socket of the hip and the head of the femur with implants to create an entirely artificial joint. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these procedures are becoming more common among younger patients, many of which are still in their 40s. Unfortunately, many types of hip implants have been found to be defective.

Five Texas patients recently won a $500 million verdict in compensatory and punitive damages against the maker of their metal-on-metal hip implants, DePuy and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiffs stated that they each experienced significant injuries, including increased metal levels in their blood, erosion of their remaining bone and death of surrounding tissue. The jury found that these injuries were all caused by premature or frequent failure of their Pinnacle hip implants due to inherent design flaws in the devices.

In 2013, DePuy independently stopped selling the Pinnacle device that was made out of metal. The Plaintiffs stated that, prior to pulling the metal implants from the market, the company marketed them to young patients in an aggressive campaign. A Johnson & Jonson representative said the company will appeal the verdict.

Those who are dealing with injury following the use of a defective product can face crushing medical debt, lost wages and depression. Moreover, product liability cases can be confusing and filled with legal nuances that people outside the legal profession are not aware of. For this reason, they may find it helpful to speak with an attorney about their options. 

Source: Fortune, “Johnson & Johnson Must Pay $500 Million to 5 Plaintiffs in Hip Implant Case,” Mar. 18, 2016.

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