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US Bellwether trials begin for DePuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal hips claims

The Bellwether trials will run for an estimated 6-9 weeks in total

1 September 2014

The first of a number of US Bellwether trials about the DePuy Pinnacle Metal on Metal hips begin today in Dallas, Texas. Bellwether trials are similar to test cases and are used in US class actions  to decide issues common to the many Claimants and move cases toward resolution. For example, Bellwether trials were used in 2007 by the families of the 9/11 victims in a claim against the airlines for compensation for their loss.

Outcomes from these Bellwether trials can assist in reaching settlement while still leaving open the possibility for Claimants to have their individual cases heard and claim compensation individually.  

Pre Trial News

In an attempt to halt the Pinnacle trials the defendants DePuy Orthopaedics and Johnson & Johnson applied to the Texas Court to have the cases against them dismissed and summary judgement awarded in their favour, without a full trial. They put forward a range of motions, including:

• The Claimants claimed for the costs of medical monitoring and future medical damages, alleging that exposure to cobalt and chromium while implanted with the DePuy Pinnacle puts them at risk of a number of systemic illnesses in the future. DePuy contended that these allegations were based on a speculative theory and  neither the law nor science supported the damages, and asked for  motion for partial summary judgement on them.

• Asking for summary judgement on the Claimants’ claim for negligence, strict liability, intentional misrepresentation, constructive fraud, deceit, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, breach of express warranty and actual fraud. They argued  the Claimants could not prove that the  physicians implanting the Pinnacle devices relied on DePuy warnings and representations about them.

• Requesting a summary judgement on the Claimants’ claims for damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of implied warranty of fitness. 

• A motion for partial summary judgement on the Claimants’ design defect claims. The Claimants seek damages based on the allegations that the metal on metal Pinnacle devices were unreasonably dangerous for their  intended purpose and were therefore defective. 

The Court however preferred the Claimant’s evidence; accordingly, all of the Defendants’ motions to dismiss the cases against them and all requests for summary judgements were denied. In separate motions, the Judge also rejected the Defendants attempt to exclude testimony by six of the Claimant’s expert witnesses.

Further dates

The other Bellwether trials which are due to start this fall and early next year are as follows:

1 September 2014
Herlihy-Paoli v DePuy
Lay et al v DePuy

3 November 2014
Jones et al v DePuy
Hodges v Depuy
Rowe et al v Johnson & Johnson

1 December 2015
Garvin v DePuy

12 January 2015
Mello et al v DePuy
McKee v DePuy

Leigh Day and the Steering Committee will be keeping a watchful eye as proceedings continue for 4 days a week for an estimated 6-9 weeks in total. 

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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