6/13/18 Punitive Damages Allowed-Biomet Knew of Metal Hip Flaws


A Florida judge allows the attorneys at mctlaw to go after punitive damages against Zimmer Biomet as part of three Florida residents’ lawsuits in Fort Lauderdale.

Punitive damages are a type of financial punishment against a company for intentionally bad behavior or misconduct. The standard for punitive damages in civil court is similar to the standard in criminal court for manslaughter. In order to include punitive damages in their lawsuit, these Florida plaintiffs (the patients injured by the Biomet hip implant) had to show that Zimmer Biomet ignored serious health risks with the M2a metal on metal hip and sold it for financial gain, anyway.

Attorney Ilyas Sayeg presented a motion for permission to add a claim for punitive damages in the lawsuit during a recent proceeding. Judge Henning reviewed the evidence and decided the case had enough merit to add punitive damages in the lawsuit against Zimmer Biomet.  Below is a partial transcript of Judge Henning’s ruling during the proceeding:

“I think that there is sufficient showing at this time regarding the knowledge that Biomet had regarding the toxicity of the… metal on metal, that they alleged…the damage as far back as 1995 and the testing that was done then, the culture of the company in suggesting that they, once the information was known, not presenting it to the doctors and the surgeons that were using it and trying to avoid subject matter and… even as they showed discussing that having metal in your body is a normal body function and that it would be in there in any event… So, I think at least at this point, there is a sufficient showing for them to be able to allege the claim.”

Punitive Damage Amounts in other Metal on Metal Trials

Juries in three recent “Pinnacle” metal on metal hip trials have awarded $168 million, $360-million and $1-billion in punitive damages against that device’s manufacturers, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics. Punitive damages are separate from compensatory damages, which is money awarded to a plaintiff to “compensate” them for their expenses and the other costs of their injury. Punitive damages, meanwhile, are meant to provide a jury an additional means to send a message if they believe the conduct was so bad that compensatory damages will not be enough to deter the bad conduct in the future. Each state has complex laws regarding punitive damages and in some cases, punitive damage awards may not be allowed.

Mctlaw is a national medical product liability law firm with offices in Washington, DC, Sarasota, FL, and Seattle, WA.  Mctlaw filed the first metal-on-metal hip replacement lawsuit in the United States in 2008.  Our team of experienced attorneys has been continuously litigating metal-on-metal hip replacement cases ever since.  Mctlaw represents patients across the country with Biomet M2a-38 and M2a-Magnum hip replacements who are now suffering from the effects of metal poisoning.

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