Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay more than $1 billion in defective hip implant lawsuit

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

A federal jury in Dallas on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit to pay more than $1 billion to six plaintiffs who said they were injured by Pinnacle hip implants, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said.

The jurors found that the metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants were defectively designed and that the companies failed to warn consumers about the risks.

The six plaintiffs in this case are California residents who were implanted with the hip devices and experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries they attributed to design flaws. Plaintiffs claimed the companies promoted the devices as lasting longer than devices that include ceramic or plastic materials.

J&J and DePuy are facing nearly 8,400 lawsuits over the devices, which have been consolidated in federal court in Texas. Test cases have been selected for trial, and their outcomes will help gauge the value of the remaining claims.

Mark Lanier, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the verdict was "a message loud and clear" that J&J has "a really nasty part of their business they need to clean up."

J&J did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Erica Teichert in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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