The suit was filed on January 18, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Case No. 3:13-cv-00251-K), where thousands of other lawsuits are pending in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) entitled In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 3:11-md-02244). DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson have been named as defendants.
The Virginia man received a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant in his left hip in March 2008. Thereafter, the lawsuit alleges, he suffered extreme pain, resulting in the need for future revision surgery to remove and replace the implant. The lawsuit alleges that the hip makers concealed the high number of defects related to the device, placing the plaintiff and other consumers at risk. If the plaintiff had been adequately informed of these risks, the suit says, he would never have agreed to the implant. He is suing for physical and mental pain and suffering along with medical expenses, past, present and future, and other expenses related to necessary lifestyle changes.
The lawsuit alleges that the DePuy Pinnacle’s defective metal-on-metal design can cause a number of serious complications when metal ions are released from the implant into the body; these include metallosis, pseudotumors, infection, inflammation, severe pain, death of surrounding tissue, bone loss, and lack of mobility. The suit claims that the defendants would have known about the defects if they had tested the device before seeking approval for its use.
The lack of clinical testing for metal-on-metal hips has become such a serious concern that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now proposing stricter regulations for approving the devices.
The FDA also recently warned about the release of metal ions from metal-on-metal hip implants when a patient walks or runs. This metallic debris can enter the bloodstream and the tissue surrounding the implant, leading to bone and soft tissue damage. The agency has recommended metal ion testing for symptomatic patients. Routine physical examinations and diagnostic imaging were also advised. The FDA advised patients to speak with their doctors if they experience pain, swelling, or sounds such as popping, clicking, or squeaking coming from the hip.