U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade reduced the punitive damages awarded late last year in the third bellwether trial involving the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement. On Dec. 1, 2016, a successful verdict resulted in more than $1 billion in punitive damages for the California Plaintiffs. Judge Kinkeade has since ruled that, even though California law does not limit punitive damages, U.S. Supreme Court precedent will not allow such a punitive damages award. Judge Kinkead reduced the jury’s punitive damages award by about half, representing approximately nine times of each Plaintiff’s compensatory damages.

You may recall that the court similarly reduced another Plaintiff’s punitive damages against DePuy in March of 2016; however, the reduction for that verdict was due a state cap on punitives. The California Plaintiffs have appealed the recent ruling, arguing that Johnson and Johnson should still be responsible for the full amount that the jury awarded, since California does not have such a cap.

In the meantime, litigation continues against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy. The next bellwether trial will have 10 New York Plaintiffs and will not begin until September of this year. Lawyers in Beasley Allen’s Mass Torts Section currently represent several hundred clients who have suffered the deleterious effects of the DePuy Pinnacle device. If you need more information about this case, or the litigation generally, contact Navan Ward or Liz Eiland, lawyers in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Navan.Ward@beasleyallen.com or Liz.Eiland@beasleyallen.com.

Source: Law 360

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