Witness Tampering Allegations in Metal Hip Implant Bellwether Trial

On September 18, the fourth bellwether trial involving Depuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants began. It almost didn’t even begin, and now the case has more issues. Judge Kinkead, who is presiding over the trial, asked the FBI to investigate Plaintiff’s claims of witness tampering.

Rocky Start

The trial almost didn’t even occur. Defendants asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the fourth bellwether trial because the defendants did not waive their objections to holding the trial outside New York, the original jurisdiction. The Fifth Circuit encouraged but did not require that Judge Kinkeade to postpone the fourth bellwether trial. Therefore, the defendant’s motion was denied.

Witness Tampering

On October 16, Mark Lanier, lead attorney for the Plaintiff’s side raised the witness tampering issue during a hearing. This issue is based on a conversation between a DePuy sales rep and his witness. The witness is a surgeon who was testifying against the implant. According to the affidavit, the sales rep threatened the surgeon that “possible ramifications to his medical practice in connection with his upcoming Dallas testimony,” could occur.

The witness was supposed to testify on Monday. But, his attorney didn’t feel comfortable putting him on the stand. Judge Kinkeade agreed and asked the FBI to investigate Lanier’s claim of intimidation.

The defense denies all claims, but they wanted a gag order placed relating to the tampering allegation. Judge Kinkeade denied it.

Dangers of Metal Hip Implants

The FDA approved most of the metal hips under a provision known as 501(k). These hip implants are part of nationwide lawsuits. This controversial process allows for an expedited approval if the device is similar to a previously approved device. This means that these metal hip implants were not subject to the rigorous safety testing other medical devices go through before they hit the market.

Hip implant manufacturers claim their implants are safe and more effective than previous models. However, the devices were less effective and caused a range of injuries. The corporations promised consumers effective hip replacements. Instead, they received implants with high rates of failure, pain and metal poisoning.

This is why thousands claim hip implant manufacturers made defective products and failed to warn about the risks. Metal-on-metal implants can cause various complications. These lead to painful surgeries to correct problems and replace the implants.

Previous Bellwether Outcomes

Three other bellwethers involving the DePuy hip implant already happened. The first trial involved a single Montana plaintiff and resulted in a defense win. However, both the second and third trials were victories for the plaintiffs.

In the second bellwether, the jury awarded five Texas plaintiffs about $498 million. The third had a  $502 million verdict. DePuy insisted that these trials purposely were biased against them. They are trying to appeal both verdicts.

If You Were Injured by a Metal Hip Implant

These settlements and verdict may be just the beginning. Experts predict more will occur in the next coming years. It is also important to note that each hip device lawsuit is different. To get advice from a qualified hip device attorney, contact the dedicated attorneys at The Michael Brady Lynch Firm at 877-513-9517. We have decades of experience going up against large corporations and getting you the compensation you deserve.

 

 

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