J&J Focused on Product Liability Settlements as Huge Trial Looms

Most of our readers likely surmise that global medical device and consumer-goods manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has deep pockets when it comes to litigation outlays.

A recent number cited in a massive settlement the company has reached with thousands of plaintiffs in product liability litigation certainly provides strong evidence of the company’s brimming coffers.

That amount: $413 million, which is reportedly what it will take J&J to settle approximately 3,300 outstanding lawsuits filed against it by victims injured by the company’s Pinnacle metal-on-metal artificial hip implants. Those devices were made in huge number in previous years by J&J’s DePuy subsidiary. The Pinnacle hips were taken off the market back in 2013.

The cited exaction is unquestionably huge. It will likely end up being just a pittance, though, of the total amount J&J will ultimately pay to settle remaining hip implant cases and avoid a potentially disastrous outcome if high numbers of cases proceed to trial.

The $400 million-plus will reportedly resolve about 3,300 disputes with plaintiff victims. There are a stunning 10,000 lawsuits alleging Pinnacle hip-linked injuries. Fully two-thirds of them remain unsettled.

News reports stress – and understandably so – that J&J is making great efforts to settle all remaining cases against it prior to a scheduled trial slated to commence next month and before an appellate court rules in a second case. In that matter, the appeals panel will decide whether to uphold a $1 billion jury award to six implant recipients.

If the appellate court upholds the verdict, states one close commentator on the Pinnacle litigation, “the value of these cases [the thousands of outstanding cases still in the settlement stream] goes up.”

We will keep readers of our legal blog at Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah timely updated on material developments in this important litigation. We welcome contacts to the firm regarding product liability-linked questions or concerns. Our firm has a nationwide presence and vast experience representing consumers in actions spotlighting defective and unsafe products.