Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics are moving forward with an appeal of last year’s bellwether trial verdict that awarded five plaintiffs $502 million, which was eventually reduced to $150 million. The plaintiffs are a small fraction of the thousands of cases that have surfaced, claiming metal-on-metal hip implants caused them pain, injury and metal poisoning. Most cases required revision surgery to replace the defective hip.
The company has wilted in the courtroom, complaining that, during trial, it was subjected to prejudices as well as “outrageously inappropriate evidence and rhetoric.” J&J claims the jury was turned against it with statements saying it was “as evil as ‘big tobacco companies'” and being referred to as “henchmen,” which, according to J&J, didn’t relate to the metal-on-metal hips.
The company also says that because the patients did not assert that the hip implant was inferior in design and quality compared to other metal-on-metal hip implants, they did not have an expert testimony to support their claims. J&J says there is a lack of evidence that the implanting surgeons would have selected a different hip if more warnings were provided.
The lead plaintiff attorney isn’t worried about the company’s appeal. “All of these arguments simply rehash early failed efforts to have the court wrongly apply the law or interfere in the fairness of the jury system,” he said. “We expect these repeated efforts will fail as well.”