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$1 Billion Payout for J&J Hip Implant Plaintiffs

Thousands of plaintiffs who suffered complications from Johnson & Johnson’s metal-on-metal hip implants have agreed to a substantial settlement deal. The defendants agreed to pay roughly $1 billion to settle more than 95 percent of 6,000 product liability lawsuits. That total includes the payout from a settlement that was previously agreed to, for the sum of over $400 million.

Some lawsuits left unresolved

Despite the massive $1 billion payout, this recent settlement does not settle all lawsuits filed against J&J with regard to allegedly defective hip implants. The company elected not to pursue a global settlement, which would have resolved all pending hip implant cases. Instead, the defendants negotiated separately with the plaintiffs’ various counsel.

J&J must still address product liability lawsuits filed by roughly 4,500 plaintiffs who either haven’t had their implants surgically removed or who received implants of a different design than the metal-on-metal construct.

A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson, Mindy Tinsley, recently released a statement that explained the company was continuing to participate in settlement talks for the still pending cases filed with regard to the Pinnacle hip device. She also acknowledged that J&J had designated funds to deal with the litigation.

Hip implant plaintiffs alleged serious complications

The hip implant in question consists of a femoral head, Ultamet liner, and Pinnacle cup. The components are made of metal. The hip implant was surgically placed into patients who had hip deficits caused by severe injuries or disease, such as arthritis. As patients with the hip implant moved around during the course of a normal day, the metal components rubbed against each other. The friction generated released metal ions into the surrounding tissues and the bloodstream. This form of heavy metal toxicity is known as metallosis, and many of the plaintiffs who filed hip replacement lawsuits against J&J alleged that they developed this complication because of the allegedly defective design of the metal-on-metal implant.

The plaintiffs typically reported experiencing extreme pain, even when immobile, along with swelling, inflammation, and difficulty moving. Some of the implants became loose or dislocated. Bone deterioration, local necrosis, and failure of the implants were other complications. Many of the patients were forced to undergo revision surgery to remove the allegedly defective hip implant and replace it.

The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants misled them regarding the safety of the hip implants, and failed to adequately warn them of the potential for serious complications. These lawsuits have been filed against J&J since 2010. In 2013, the company removed the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implant from the stream of commerce following safety concerns. The settlement agreement will help plaintiffs recover from the physical, financial, and emotional trauma they experienced.

Other massive payouts for J&J

This recent settlement news isn’t the first time J&J has been in the public spotlight for paying out significant sums of money. Over the past three years, the beleaguered company has been ordered to pay more than $1.5 billion to Pinnacle hip plaintiffs whose lawsuits went to trial. Some of those jury verdicts were tossed out on appeal, while others had the jury award reduced.

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