After rejecting a $1.8 million settlement offer, Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiary Depuy paid out $1.041 billion to six Plaintiffs alleging that they were injured by their Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacements. The lawsuit took place in Texas. The petitioners, in this and the now over 8,400 cases facing Johnson & Johnson over the hip replacements, state that theirs caused metallosis, or metal poisoning, which caused them additional surgeries, bone deterioration, and muscle loss, among other symptoms. Depuy discontinued the hip replacements in 2013 after the Food and Drug Administration raised regulation standards on those products and others that are similar.
The Texas federal courts have allow a select few cases to go to trial in order to gauge the validity of the many claims. The Defendants have been found guilty in two of the three test cases thus far. This latest award is considered the third test case.
Of the $1.041 billion awarded, only $32 million was meant to compensate the victims. The rests was meant to punish Johnson & Johnson and Depuy as well as deter others from committing similar crimes, also called punitive damages. Even still, Johnson & Johnson attests there was no wrongdoing on their part or on part of their subsidiary. This, however, comes after they have had to pay $2.5 billion in settlements over the same hip replacements in 2013, and an earlier $500 million dollar verdict in a case earlier this year.
As large as this award is, there is a chance that it will shrink substantially upon appeal. Johnson & Johnson has already stated that they believe they were treated unfairly by the court. Whether or not one agrees with this assertion, it is probable that the Defendants will try lower the award. In the earlier 2016 case, the $500 million was reduced to $151 million. There are no caps for punitive damages in California, where all of the latest Plaintiffs were residents, however, lessening this likelihood.
See more about the verdict and trial here.