The trial started about a week and a half ago, and there has been opening arguments. So far, we have heard from the attorneys in the courtroom that the case is going very well. This hip case is unique because the judge has allowed five individual plaintiffs to go to trial simultaneously. All previous hip cases were usually one plaintiff and one defendant, and were tried in various jurisdictions involving different types of hips. In this case, we have five people who all underwent revision surgeries because of problems with metallosis and their DePuy Pinnacle hips.
During opening statements, the plaintiffs made a very good argument that DePuy knew there were problems with these hips, they did not adequately test the hips and they put them on the market any way. Additionally, the plaintiffs argued DePuy was putting profits over the well being of people who are receiving these hips.
The defense, as you might expect, took the position that all five people and their problems had nothing to do with the DePuy Pinnacle hip. Specifically, they are claiming that some people had an allergic reaction, some people had infections, and that there is a reason for every person as to why their hips failed. According to DePuy’s attorneys, the hips failing has nothing to do with the defect in their hip. They also went to great lengths to explain the evolution of technology and medical devices, and how there was metal-on-plastic and how there were problems with that, and so they tried metal-on-metal and realized that wasn’t working very well, and now we are going back to metal-on-plastic. So, there is this argument that this is the natural evolution of technology and medical devices. They state sometimes they fail, sometimes people get hurt and that’s just the cost of doing business, so to speak.
I don’t know if that type of argument is going to fly with this jury. I think if technology is developed, a company has an obligation to test it before they put it in people. And if the theory is that this is our way of developing a product, sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad things happen, well then you have to pay for the bad things. At least, that would be my position.
So, that’s where the case is. There are lots of experts who have been testifying over the last couple of weeks. A lot of the treating doctors have been testifying as well. I think today one of the plaintiffs will testify and explain her experience with her hip. I believe the trial is going well and I think the situation where we have five individual plaintiffs is going to make it very difficult for the defendant. It’s really easy when you have person saying, “Yeah, maybe our hip caused people problems but not this person.” Essentially, they have to say that five times in front of the same jury. That argument will be tough for the defense.
Stay tuned because we will provide additional updates.