A federal jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay five Texans a total of $502 million for injuries caused by defective hip-replacement devices. That outcome could affect how similar cases filed by another 7,000 plaintiffs are resolved. The plaintiffs alleged that Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip replacements, made by Johnson & Johnson's DePuy Orthopaedics, released metal debris into their bloodstreams, causing major injuries that sometimes required further surgery. DePuy denied that the devices are defective and plans to appeal the verdict. DePuy was victorious in a 2014 federal trial over the same device.
The jury in last week's decision not only found that the devices were defective, but that the company didn't adequately warn doctors about the product's dangers, and that the injuries were a result of gross negligence and fraud by DePuy and Johnson & Johnson.
The hip replacements have not been recalled. In 2013, Johnson & Johnson announced it would pay $2.5 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits over a different line of failed metal-on-metal hip implants.