How Did J&J Get $1B Lawsuit Award Halved?

Posted in Medical Device Business by amanda.pedersen on January 5, 2017

Judge upheld jury’s findings in faulty hip cases, but cut about $500M from the damages award.

Amanda Pedersen


Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will only have to shell out about half of what it was previously ordered to pay plaintiffs injured by defective hip implants.

Learn how orthopedics companies and other medical device makers are adapting to value-based care at MD&M West on February 7, 2017.

In December, a federal jury in Dallas ordered J&J and its DePuy Orthopedics unit to pay more than $1 billion to six different California residents who said they were injured by DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implants.

U.S. Distric Judge Ed Kinkeade upheld the jury’s findings that the metal-on-metal implants were defectively designed and that the company failed to warn consumers about the risks, but cut about $500 million of damages from the award total. The judge cited “constitutional considerations” that limit how much plaintiffs can get in punitive damages.

The trial in Dallas centered around six individual cases chosen by the plaintiff’s executive committee concerning DePuy’s Ultamet metal-on-metal articulation hip replacement device. Of the $1.041 billion in total damages awarded by the jury, $32 million was for compensatory damages, and the rest were considered punitive damages.

J&J and DePuy have racked up nearly 8,400 separate lawsuits over the implants, all of which have been consolidated in Texas federal court where test cases were selected for trial. Last July, a separate test case awarded plaintiffs a $500 million verdict over a Pinnacle implant, which was eventually reduced to $151 million after a Texas state law limited the amount of punitive damages, a decision the plaintiffs are expected to appeal.

DePuy stopped selling the Pinnacle devices in 2013 after FDA raised the bar on artificial hip regulations. The devices were later linked to tissue death, bone erosion, and other injuries. That same year, the companies paid $2.5 billion to settle 7,000 lawsuits over ASR metal-on-metal hip devices, where were recalled in 2010 due to complications from high failure rates.

Amanda Pedersen is Qmed's news editor. Reach her at


[Image credit: Pixabay]