DePuy Pinnacle MDL Outlines Process for Bellwether Trials
The DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuit number continues to mount in Texas district court – site of the Pinnacle MDL. In January, the parties involved in the multidistrict litigation agreed on a process for choosing and preparing a handful of cases for early trial dates. Known as bellwether trials, these lawsuits may set the stage for future litigation, with preliminary evaluation of how juries will respond to evidence and testimony. It could also impact the decision on DePuy hip settlements for plaintiffs with cases currently pending in the federal MDL.
Eight cases to be selected by Pinnacle hip lawyer team
The Special Master’s Report regarding the bellwether trial process was issued on January 16, 2013. The report states that by June 3, 2013, a team of attorneys representing both plaintiffs and defendants will select four claims to be named as potential bellwether cases for early trial, creating a pool of eight cases for consideration. The selection will come from lawsuits currently pending in the federal MDL, with plaintiff fact sheets provided by February 28, 2013. The parties will then be allowed to collect evidence, including medical records, disability records and employment histories for each of the eight cases selected.
Once this process is complete, parties will select four bellwether trials from the eight cases by September 2, 2013. A date for an initial bellwether trial has already been set for September, 2014. Once the final four bellwether cases are chosen, any that are dismissed will be replaced with another DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuit currently pending in the MDL. If the case is dismissed due to a settlement, the plaintiff will be allowed to suggest the replacement lawsuit. If the case is dismissed for any other reason, the choice of a replacement lawsuit will lie with the defendant.
Federal MDL includes thousands of pending lawsuits
Multidistrict litigation for lawsuits involving DePuy Pinnacle hip implants was assigned to district court in the Northern District of Texas in May, 2012. The Honorable Judge Ed Kinkeade is overseeing the proceedings. Currently, more than 3,000 complaints over Pinnacle hip devices have been filed in U.S. district courts nationwide and coordinated under one judge.
Plaintiffs who have filed a DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuit cite complications such as persistent pain, loosening of the implant and hip implant dislocation. Some patients have also experienced metal poisoning when the metal-on-metal components of the device create friction and release small metal particles into surrounding tissue and the bloodstream. Patients who experience these problems may begin to have problems within a few years of receiving their initial implant and many require revision surgery to correct the early failure.
The manufacturer of the Pinnacle hip implant, Johnson & Johnson, is also under fire for complications associated with the DePuy ASR hip implant. Lawsuits have also been filed by patients injured by this device, and those complaints have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Ohio. The first bellwether trial in ASR litigation is scheduled for May, 2013. Another trial is currently underway in California state court. The ASR implant was recalled in August, 2012, after a higher-than-normal failure rate was noted with the device.
- Hip replacement patients could face increased risk of cancer. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9061781/Hip-replacement-patients-could-face-increased-risk-of-cancer.html
- DePuy's hip replacement: the new big thing in product lability suits? Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/12/17/depuys-hip-replacement-the-new-big-thing-in-product-liability-suits/