DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant Judge Preparing to Appoint Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee

Some important decisions will soon be made in the <"">DePuy Pinnacle hip implant multidistrict litigation (MDL). According to a report from Reuters, Dallas federal judge Ed Kinkeade is getting ready to name attorneys to the plaintiffs’ steering committee in the litigation. Several big-name law firms have already submitted letters to the judge seeking the positions.

About 300 lawsuits are currently pending in the DePuy Pinnacle MDL, but legal experts expect many more filings in the future. The lawsuits allege that the all-metal version of the best-selling hip implant is similar in design to the DePuy ASR hip implant, which was recalled last August due to a high rate of early failures. Many of the injuries described in the Pinnacle complaints share similarities with DePuy ASR complications, and plaintiffs assert the all-metal Pinnacle device should have been subject to its own recall.

The DePuy ASR hip implant is also the subject of its own MDL, where 3,000 cases are currently pending. There are about 34,000 potential plaintiffs throughout the U.S. who’ve been implanted with the ASR device. Plaintiffs’ attorneys told Reuters that they think DePuy, and its parent, Johnson & Johnson, will eventually have to settle the ASR cases, considering that the company recalled the product. It has already begun paying for replacement surgery through a third-party contractor it hired to handle the recall.

No one can say how many Pinnacle plaintiffs could be out there, because not everyone who received the implant got the all-metal device. According to Reuters, the Pinnacle hip implant is also available with polyethylene or ceramic liners between the metal parts. However, in total, Pinnacle sales outpaced sales of the ASR.

According to the Reuters report, in an August 10 order, Judge Kinkeade directed plaintiffs firms vying for leadership positions in the Pinnacle litigation to respond to a long list of questions about their experience in big cases. Judge Kinkeade, who has not overseen an MDL before, said he may even interview candidates to lead the case.

The plaintiffs’ steering committee in an MDL coordinates the litigation and works to represent all plaintiffs. It is the responsibility of plaintiffs’ steering committee members to, among other things, conduct all pretrial discovery, prepare and examine witnesses, act as a spokesperson for all plaintiffs at pretrial proceedings, and negotiate with defendants on the litigation.

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