Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement MDL Lawsuits

Posted On: October 7, 2011 by Dr. Shezad Malik   

More than 500 lawsuits have been filed in Northern District of Texas federal court over DePuy Pinnacle hip replacements problems. The plaintiffs have alleged that DePuy hips, caused individuals to experience severe pain and early failure of their artificial hip implant.

In May 2011, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, JPML, ordered that every DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuit filed in any U.S. District Court throughout the country be transferred to the Northern District of Texas as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.

According to court documents released October 6, there are now at least 538 complaints consolidated before U.S. District Judge James E. Kinkeade in the DePuy Pinnacle MDL. As DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement lawyers continue to evaluate, investigate and file new cases in federal court, the number of lawsuits is expected to continue to grow. Many medical experts anticipate that thousands of people who are impacted by the alleged defective medical product, will ultimately file a complaint.

This scenario is currently being played out in the Northern District of Ohio federal court system, where another metal on metal DePuy hip product has been consolidated for litigation purposes. In August 2010, DePuy recalled its flagship artificial metal on metal hip product, the DePuy ASR.

watch this abc news video

All of the suits involve similar allegations that the DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System was defectively designed or manufactured, and that inadequate warnings were provided about the risk of early complications or problems, which have been developing within a few years of the surgery. In many cases, the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement complications result in the need for additional surgery to replace or revise the hip replacement.

Many of the complaints allege that DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has been aware of the problems with their metal-on-metal hip implants for some time and that a DePuy Pinnacle hip recall should have been issued several years ago.

As described above, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy also face thousands of lawsuits over the recalled DePuy ASR hip replacement. The DePuy ASR hip was approved as a substantial equivalent design to the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip, and the allegations raised regarding design problems with the two devices are similar.

Over the past year, concerns about all metal-on-metal hip replacements have been growing. Last October, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) issued a warning about potential problems with metal on-metal hip replacements, indicating that patients and the medical community should be aware that pain months after hip replacement surgery may be a sign of metal-on-metal hip cobalt toxicity.

Earlier this year, the FDA launched a new website to provide information about the risks associated with metal-on-metal hip replacements.


  1. Those 500 lawsuits would go for a win-win case when handled by equipped lawyers regarding this depuy hip recall issue. :)

  2. There is far more to the Pinnacle Implant System than metal on metal shedding. Alignment, the proper design of the acetabular cup, the articu/leze system with metal on metal femoral head with Summit stem has now been designated as outdated by DePuy and the femoral head instead of metal must be of an "M" designation. This is their new ceramic type head which wears (they say) much better than metal on metal femoral and does not shed metallic debris. There are a lot of different problems with the Pinnacle system-not just metal cup rubbing on metal ball creating cobalt toxicity.

    Lawyers are only looking at metal on metal with the Pinnacle, when the acetabular cup itself may be the culprit-and tolerance requiring installation of same are too stringent and unforgiving. Matter of fact, the entire Pinnacle Design should be examined by engineers and try to figure all the after surgery pain complaints that emmanate from this product.The poly Altrx liner was supposed to eliminate metallosis but has not eliminated the pain. Why?
    There is an inherent problem with the Pinnacle Design. The FDA was too quick to O.K. the updated versions presented to them by the medical conglomerates. We all suffer for it. None, I repeat NONE of the surgeons seem to be able to figure out why there is so much pain with these hip implants. Something is eventually going to surface and expose this industry for the terrible results of using their products. In most cases, the pain is less prior to surgery. Revisions? Why 10% minimum of all implants have to be revisited with the scapal. Might be better off using Drs. that really have experience with implant surgery. Matter of fact, I know of one Orthopaedic Surigal specialist that went to his teacher from med school and used a DePuy special all metal athletic version of their total implant and they had to cut his nerves, a year after the surgery he still walks with a crutch and the surgery was done by a genius in the field. Maybe, just maybe it was the design of the DePuy hip. Not just the metal shedding metal, but the movement of the hip itelf. The Dr. tells me his hip pops,hurts, he can hardly walk-and this is all within the medical community. Imagine the poor cattle coming in off the street with faith in their doctors and process. Only, to wind up worse off than before surgery-as far as pain and safety with metal/plastic in their bloodstream. Uplifting isn't it. Johnson and Johnson-Band Aid anyone?

    1. I agree with you that there must be an inherent design issue. I also think that surgeons with a "God-complex" contribute to failures and complications. I wound up with a DePuy Pinnacle in Aug. 2011 after the failure of a Sept. 2010 hip pinning for a femoral neck fracture. Because of the surgeon's inability to write the word "Precautions" just once on a single form, no physical therapist, nurse, physician, etc., bothered to inform me that I might not want to bend, squat, kneel, etc., after the procedure.

      If I hadn’t been accompanied to an appointment with the surgeon by someone who heard the same thing, I would have thought I was hallucinating when, upon my limping out, he joked that, "You'd better be careful or I'll be doing a total hip replacement on you."

      Thanks in part to the "Good 'ole (MD) boys club" mentality here in the Phoenix (Ariz.) area, I was forced to return to the same surgeon for the THR. If I had been provided with even a single alternative, I would have reconsidered. But with my left leg growing ever shorter, my balance non-existent so that I injured myself in at least one fall daily, and the pain so intolerable that I contemplated suicide, I felt I had no choice.

      This time, the surgeon did note that I must follow "precautions". But to this day, I still feel that my left thigh, hip and buttocks are on fire. Of course I've been told that I "shouldn't" have this type of pain, although X-rays reveal I have end-of-stem pain.

      I also have an angry red rash that sporadically appears around the long, dark red scar on the side of my thigh. And I’m told I "shouldn't" have that either. When I walk, even a few steps in my home, the bones in my left leg, hip, etc., make cracking, popping, snapping and crackling sounds. They are similar to the sounds made by my fingers typing on this PC keyboard. Like the sounds made by my hip and leg bones, there’s no rhyme or reason for my limping. At times it’s as if my hip and thigh are “frozen” and I’m unable to move them at all. I then have to hop to a chair or have my dog lead me to a seat.

      This doesn't work well when out in public where being "disabled" in America is akin to being a mass murderer. I can't even get the post office to provide me with a seat as I wait in line. But I can’t sit on the floor because it is too painful to get up, if I can manage to get up at all.

      After the first surgery, my bones didn't make the sounds they do now. The pain was as bad, so the THR didn't help me there, and I still lose my balance. I wanted to be able to walk my dog, my therapy dog, without pain, and my surgeon insisted that after this surgery, "You'll be dancing." I believed him. What a moron I am.

      At 49, I feel 249. I know that I will never again be able to run, to ride a bicycle, to skate, to do anything that might dislocate my hip, to walk my dog without the fear that I might suddenly become completely debilitated without anyone nearby to assist me. My life is over. All because of money.

      I was assured the DePuy Pinnacle was the solution. Now I know it’s no more than a different path to the destruction of one more faceless patient so as to increase the wealth of yet another corporate entity and its affiliates.

      The poison on the viral-laden petri dish is this: Thanks to this "country" in which we "live", doctors are reluctant to prescribe any pain medication to help me cope -- not live -- with this excruciating, agonizing pain. I'm supposed to just grit my teeth and ... break them, which I've done many times in recent months.

      To be in pain in America is like being nailed to a cross. Why our so-called "humane" society insists on treating so many of its members in such an inhumane way is appalling. If I were a pet, I would have been euthanized by now. But I presume this suffering is meant to be "good" for me.

    2. So Sorry to hear of these issues. hard to imagine that a surgeon and the hospital failed to provide hip precautions in writing upon discharge. In addition, it is strange that they didn't have you go through some physical therapy post op whereby they would also have reviewed the hip precautions. Sounds like you were not on an orthopedic unit but rather you were on a general surgical unit?

      One thing is certain. You are not a moron. Likewise, it is not so that you will not eventually have a normal life. If you feel like there is a continued issue with your hip, I would do two things:

      -shop for another surgeon
      -speak with the surgeon who performed the surgery and advise that you will seek counsel if something is not done and you would like to see a plan put in place to address your issues.

      Do you have a lawyer?

      Best to you.


    3. Hi Connie,

      Like you, I found it hard to believe that the surgeon failed to provide me with precautions. I did have PT at home, but the home health care physical therapist told me that because the surgeon hadn't listed any precautions, I could do whatever I wanted to do physically.

      So after the few hours of physical therapy post-op in the hospital, after the first surgery, teaching me to ambulate with a walker, I had the PT at home and then on an outpatient basis. Again, since the surgeon had not listed any precautions, the outpatient PT didn't have me follow any. So the first surgery failed.

      I didn't choose the surgeon; I had broken my femoral neck bone in a fall and a friend took me to the E.R. I wound up with the surgeon I had.

      I did see numerous surgeons here but each told me I had to return to the original surgeon. Not one of them would touch me.

      So the only way I know of to get a surgeon who may or may not be any good is to travel out of state. And I'm in too much pain and too broke to do so.

      After the THR, a physical therapist worked with me in the hospital for a couple of days and then a physical therapist worked with me at home through the home health care provider.

      Apparently, the home health care entity subcontracts with all the physical therapists, nurses, etc., because the first call I got upon arriving home was from the physical therapist who had said I didn't have to follow any precautions after the first surgery.

      I told him I would call him back, and then called the home health care agency to request a competent therapist, which I got.

      Again, though, while going for outpatient PT at a different location after the home health care therapy ended, I wound up in more pain, not less. And I wound up, as with the first PT provider, on my own much of the time doing exercises I had been doing at home while the physical therapists ignored me and socialized with other patients, with one another, etc. Of course, I had to pay for it because they were there while I was there. But their presence wouldn't have been helpful had I fallen because they were nowhere near me.

      As to the surgeon who performed the surgery, I did talk to him, and always had a "witness" with me while doing so.

      He contradicted himself constantly, giving me a variety of answers to my questions, told me he didn't want to prescribe any pain medication for me and to see my regular doctor for that (whose nurse practitioner says I shouldn't be having pain), and told me to continue with physical therapy. His "plan" is to continue having me go back every few months so that he can take X-rays for which I will be billed an enormous co-pay, and I'm sure if this pain continues, he will insist that I need a revision. And then another and another and another and another and another.

      Connie, I am disabled and on Medicare. My prescriptions are unaffordable, but I do not qualify for extra help except for my state's Medicaid program, one I was deemed inegible for because I am single and have no children. I have spoken with attorneys regarding my situation, but each says that it's almost impossible to prove medical malpractice (I would have to be dead, I think, and have my dog sue on my behalf) and that my issues aren't severe enough (again, I would have to be dead) to qualify as a minimum $100,000 case.

      I suppose I could call every surgeon in the phone book, but I am just too weary for that. Thank you, though, for your suggestions. I think I'm stuck, though, until I can leave the state or ... otherwise.

      Thanks again.


  3. Thank u Anonymous! You are SO right on!!! Wake up all of you that think the metal on metal are the only defective Pinnacles!!!

  4. Act on your rights now before it is too late. Hire an experienced lawyer

    1. Remember to do your research if you are going to hire an experienced lawyer.

      Contingency fees are open to negotiation between attorney and client.
      You do not have to agree to the contingency fees (usually 33%) that they initially offer. Say you will only sign for 20% or 25%, you have nothing to lose. You have the power and they want your case since these cases will be won and may be settled before trial.

      Also, ask whether the lawyer will calculate the fee before or after the expenses. This can make a substantial difference, since calculating the percentage of the attorney's fee after the expenses have been deducted increases the amount of money you receive.

      Fees can be negotiated in other ways. For example: 25% if you settle before trial, 30% if you go to trial and 40% if you go to appeal. This will encourage your lawyer to work for your interests instead of grabbing the first settlement that comes along.

      Some clients also prefer to pay their lawyers on a sliding scale. For example, 33 percent for the first $100,000 in damages, 25 percent for the next $100,000, and 15 percent above that.

      Don't just accept what the lawyer offers as contingency fees.
      Do your research on contingency fees before you sign with an experienced lawyer.