In the Northern District of Texas, five lawsuits over the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant have been consolidated into one bellwether trial before federal Judge Ed Kinkeade. Over the past four weeks, jurors have been hearing arguments over whether the metal hip implant is to blame for injuries such as metal poisoning. Plaintiffs in the litigation, as with other cases over metal-on-metal hip implants, allege the implant fails at high rates and sheds metal debris.
In 2010, DePuy issued a global recall of its ASR metal-on-metal hip implants because the devices were failing at higher rates than expected. In other words, patients who received the ASR experienced complications within a relatively short period of time resulting in a second surgery, known as a revision surgery, to remove the implant. The ASR recall brought concerns over metal-on-metal hip implants to light, and thousands of lawsuits have been filed. DePuy Orthopaedics created a settlement program in 2013 to handle ASR injury claims.
Plaintiffs allege the Pinnacle hip implant is defective in design and caused complications such as pain, implant loosening, tissue death and elevated metal ion levels. A number of studies have linked all-metal hip devices to higher rates of failure. DePuy is accused of failing to warn about these problems.
World renowned orthopedic histopathologist Dr. Nicholas Athanasou, M.D., Ph.D recently testified in the Pinnacle trial. Dr. Athanasou studied cellular mechanisms of bone resorption and is a professor of musculoskeletal pathology at Oxford, England. DePuy objected to his use of a microscope in the courtroom, but the court overruled this motion. His testimony will proceed.
Other recent plaintiff expert witnesses include top orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bernard Morrey and his son Dr. Matt Morrey. Dr. Bernard Morrey, who has vast credentials including over 30 years with the Mayo Clinic, told jurors he has never used metal-on-metal hip implants. Both doctors are non-retained experts for the plaintiffs. The court asked Dr. Matt Morrey to provide a report and he may be required to return for further examination.