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Judge Allows Jurors in DePuy Pinnacle™ Trial to Hear About Other Cases in MDL

verdictsLaw 360 reports that the jurors in the first federal DePuy Pinnacle™ bellwether case were allowed to hear about the 6,500 other cases pending in the MDL of plaintiffs alleging defects against the metal-on-metal hip implant manufacturer, thus lifting an earlier order barring such discussions. The Honorable Judge James Edgar “Ed” Kinkeade, who is presiding over the MDL and first bellwether trial, decided that DePuy opened the door to the discussion of other cases by referring to the plaintiff’s case as an outlier. Judge Kinkeade decided that the plaintiff should be able to defend against such a characterization.

The first bellwether trial in the DePuy Pinnacle™ Multidistrict Litigation (In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 3:11-md-02244, MDL No. 2244) began last month in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, as set forth in Case Management Order No. 8. The first trial involves cases filed by two plaintiffs: Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli and Toni M. Lay. Herlihy-Paoli alleges that her Pinnacle™ hip implant failed and turned black due to metallosis (metal poisoning), while Lay alleges that her doctor found high levels of cobalt and chromium in her blood and that her Pinnacle hip implant failed. Lay’s surgeon also determined that she suffered from soft tissue death surrounding the area of the device.

DePuy’s Pinnacle™ Hip Replacement System was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. The Pinnacle™ metal-on-metal device was approved via Premarket Notification (PMN) clearance (also called the 510(k) process), which means the FDA found the device to be “substantially equivalent” to a predicate device—the Ultima Metal-On-Metal Acetabular Cup—already on the market. Recipients of both hip replacement systems sustained adverse complications from the devices. In mid-2013, DePuy discontinued the manufacturing and marketing of its metal liner.


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