Johnson & Johnson is willing to pay more than $400 million to settle some of the thousands of consumers’ allegations that the company sold defective artificial hips and hid the health risks of the devices, people familiar with the negotiations said.
The world’s largest health-care products maker has settled, or is in the process of settling, about 3,300 of 10,000 lawsuits targeting its Pinnacle line of hip-replacement devices, a judge said in a Dec. 9 court filing.
J&J officials have agreed to pay an average of about $125,000 per case to resolve about a third of the suits pending against the company over Pinnacle hips, five people familiar with the settlement said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the deals.
An average payout of $125,000 for 3,300 cases would cost the company about $413 million.
J&J is seeking to resolve the remaining Pinnacle cases before a trial gets underway in January, the people added. Talks are continuing with lawyers for the residual hip recipients who have sued, they said.
The accords are the first settlements in the bitter seven-year litigation battle over the metal-on-metal hip implants, which some consumers say failed prematurely or gave them metal poisoning. J&J’s DePuy unit made the hips, which were taken off the market in 2013.
Mindy Tinsley, a spokeswoman for J&J’s DePuy unit, declined to comment on the settlements.
The settlements come as J&J is set to face a Jan. 14 trial in Dallas, where five Pinnacle-hip recipients will press claims the companies rushed the devices to market with little testing and misled doctors about the devices’ safety profiles. J&J has denied those claims and said it developed and marketed the hips responsibly.
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