Four more patient lawsuits alleging injuries related to Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants made by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics will join an ongoing multidistrict litigation.
Despite protests from the plaintiffs, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the lawsuits to Texas where more than 1,100 similar cases are already consolidated under Lone Star State Judge James Kinkeade.
The panel ruled that the cases were similar enough and involved "common questions of fact with actions previously transferred" to the Texas MDL and that "transfer will service the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of litigation," according to panel documents.
The lawsuits came from the central and northern districts of California as well as from Maryland. All involve injuries allegedly caused by DePuy’s metal-on-metal Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System hip implants, a device that predates the device maker’s recalled ASR implants by a few years.
Like the ASR implants, the Pinnacle device has been found to shed minute particles of metal as the hip’s ball joint wears on the metal cup. The lawsuits allege that increases the risk of problems and make the implants prone to early failure.
DePuy voluntarily recalled the ASR in August 2010 after receiving reports that a higher-than-normal number of patients required surgeries to correct or remove defective implants. The company said it was pulling the ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing systems from the market "due to the number of patients who required a second hip replacement procedure, called a revision surgery." More than 96,000 patients were affected by the massive global recall.