UPDATED Oct. 23, 2014, with comment from DePuy.
The jury unanimously found in favor of DePuy on all counts, according to news reports, rejecting plaintiff Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli’s claims for negligence, defective design, failure to warn and violations of the Montana Consumer Protection Act after an 8-week trial in Texas.
Lawyers for Herlihy-Paoli accused the company of concealing the safety risks of the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants she received in 2009. They said the company failed to warn doctors and patients that the device could shed metal ions into the bloodstream, infecting surrounding tissue and causing the level of metals such as cobalt in the blood to soar.
DePuy vigorously fought back against Herlihy-Paoli’s claims and said the device did not fail and the plaintiff’s lawyers never identified a specific flaw that caused her injuries.
The jury began deliberating Oct. 21. The case is before Judge Ed Kinkeade in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas.
The outcome of Herlihy-Paoli’s case will weigh on more than 6,000 other cases over Pinnacle hip implants that have been consolidated in the same Dallas federal court, and could impact Johnson & Johnson’s willingness to settle the lawsuits or continue to try cases in hopes of beating plaintiffs’ claims.
“We are pleased with the jury’s decision, which reflects the facts of this case,” DePuy Synthes senior director of communication & public affairs Mindy Tinsley told MassDevice.com via email. “The evidence showed that UltaMet metal-on-metal was designed to meet the needs of patients and is backed by clinical data showing a track record of safety and effectiveness in reducing pain and restoring mobility for patients suffering from chronic hip pain.
“Patients have always been our top priority,” Tinsley added. “UltaMet Metal-on-Metal was appropriately developed, thoroughly tested, and responsibly marketed.”