Texas Federal Judge Enters $245 Million Final Judgment in J&J Hip Implant Bellwether

Law360 reporter Cara Bayles interviewed Lanier Law Firm founder Mark Lanier after a Texas federal judge upheld the bulk of the firm’s November 2017 bellwether verdict for six individuals seriously injured by medical complications from J&J’s defective Pinnnacle metal-on-metal hip implants.

The final judgment was entered Wednesday at more than $245 million for the group of New York plaintiffs. The original $247 million unanimous jury verdict found J&J and DePuy/J&J to blame for design and manufacturing defects, fraud, and deceptive trade practices. In awarding $90 million in punitive damages against J&J and $78 million in punitive damages against DePuy/J&J, the jury found the two companies had acted with wanton, reckless or malicious conduct.

Writes Law360:

Plaintiffs’ attorney W. Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm told Law360 that he was pleased with the judgment. But he added that he was gearing up for another fight, saying Johnson & Johnson has indicated that it will appeal the decision.

“We are pleased and eager to seek upholding this on appeal,” Lanier said in an email Wednesday.

In November, a Texas federal jury hit J&J and its DePuy/J&J Orthopaedics Inc. unit with a combined $247 million verdict in the bellwether trial over DePuy/J&J’s Pinnacle line of metal-on-metal hip implants, delivering the third consecutive nine-figure verdict in the multidistrict litigation.

The case was the fourth bellwether in multidistrict litigation that includes more than 9,000 cases alleging design defects in the implants. In 2016, Texas juries found in favor of two groups of plaintiffs from Texas and California, awarding them $502 million and more than $1 billion in damages, respectively, though those verdicts were later reduced to $150 million and $543 million.

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