On Monday, a Texas federal judge allowed the plaintiff in a bellwether trial against Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit to tell jurors about the 6,500 other cases pending in multidistrict litigation that allege injuries caused by defects in a metal-on-metal hip implant.
U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade said DePuy had opened the door to the mention of the other cases that target the Pinnacle hip implant by calling the plaintiff’s case an outlier and suggesting that the doctors who treated her were also outliers, Law360 reports. The judge said the plaintiff needed to be able to defend against that characterization.
This is first case in the multidistrict litigation to go to trial. Recipients of the Pinnacle hip implant allege that the grinding of the device’s metal components sheds metallic debris into the recipient’s bloodstream, causing swelling, pain and the potentially toxic condition metallosis, according to Law360. An attorney for the plaintiff argued that the jury would be left with a huge misimpression if they were told the plaintiff was an outlier without hearing about the thousands of other DePuy Pinnacle hip recipients who also say they suffered health problems as a result of the defective devices.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says recipients of metal-on-metal hip implants have reported complications including pain, difficulty walking, hip dislocation, bone fracture, infections, nerve damage, metallosis, numbness/weakness, device loosening, and bone loss. The plaintiff, a Montana graphic artist, alleges that the cobalt and chromium debris leached into her body, causing an infection that necessitated the removal and replacement of both hips.