In November 2017 case that has tremendous implications for victims in Florida, a federal jury awarded $247 million in damages to six people who received defective Pinnacle hip implants.
Jurors agreed that the victims suffered serious injuries from the defectively designed implants, including bone erosion and tissue death. Additionally, the victims claimed that DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, hid adverse information about the defects and falsely promoted them as long-lasting alternatives for active individuals. This latest victory is the third straight win for hip implant victims after trials began in 2014.
A corporate spokesperson said that DePuy remained committed “to the long-term defense of the allegations in these lawsuits.” DePuy faces about 9,000 such actions across the country.
The Dangers of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants in Florida
Beginning in the late 1990s, implant makers like DePuy touted their MoM artificial hips as safe and longer-lasting alternatives than the Plastic-on-Metal devices that were available at the time. On paper, things looked good. The hip is a ball and socket joint, and whereas the plastic cups would eventually wear out, the all-metal parts in the new devices would supposedly never wear out.
But with each step, the metal parts grind against one another, releasing microscopic metal fragments into the bloodstream. Eventually, these tiny fragments accumulate in tissues, bones, and organs near the implant and cause metallosis (metal poisoning). Inflammation causes the device to break, triggering intense pain and leading to loss of mobility. This mobility usually never comes back, even after the victim has revision surgery to remove the displaced artificial hip.
Legal Issues Regarding Defective Hip Implants in Orlando
This inherent design flaw is a design defect. If they sell products that are unsafe, the manufacturers are strictly liable for the damages these products cause. Victims need not prove negligence. Instead, they must only prove causation.
As evidenced by the above story, damages are often substantial in Florida defective medical device cases. The mechanical aspects of the product defect are easy for the jury to follow, and it is also very easy for the jury to see the victim’s damages firsthand in terms of loss of mobility. Finally, because of the way that many of these companies concealed the risks these devices posed, jurors often award substantial punitive damages.
With three major victories in defective hip implant lawsuits, these claims are becoming easier and easier to settle on favorable terms in Florida, despite the device maker’s protestations that they are safe.
Join With Experienced Attorneys
Defective medical devices often cause very serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Orlando, contact Oldham & Smith. Home and hospital visits are available.