J&J Reportedly Close to Deal on Pinnacle Hip Implant Lawsuits

The DePuy Orthopedics unit of Johnson & Johnson is reportedly in settlement talks to resolve the majority of the individual lawsuits that allege the company’s Pinnacle hip implants were defective and led to injuries.

Sources say the plaintiffs’ lawyers were in touch with the company to reach an agreement to resolve the litigation, which includes more than 10,000 cases. Plaintiffs hope to reach an agreement by the end of the year.

It is still unclear how many of the Pinnacle lawsuits would be settled through the arrangement.

DePuy stopped selling its metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implant devices in 2013 after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed its artificial hip regulations. The Pinnacle system is now being sold with other material combinations.

Metal-on-metal hip implants have been scrutinized for allegedly causing a build-up of metal ions in the blood. The ion build-up reportedly causes allergic reactions, groin pain, tissue death and bone erosion.

J&J has denied the allegations, and claims that the company has acted appropriately and responsibly when developing, testing and marketing its devices.

Last month, the company agreed to pay $120 million to settle allegations that it used deceptive marketing strategies to sell its metal-on-metal hip implants. According to DePuy, the settlement did not involve admission of misconduct or liability on part of the companies.

J&J has faced several federal jury trials over its Pinnacle hip implant system. The company won the first case in 2014, but it has lost all subsequent trials. Verdicts have ranged from $151 million to $540 million.

J&J has appealed all of those verdicts.

In an earlier settlement, J&J agreed to pay about $125,000 per case to resolve about a third of the Pinnacle hip lawsuits. That settlement involved 20 cases, according to court findings.

The company is also facing thousands of lawsuits alleging that its baby powder products contain asbestos and caused cancer.