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A U.S. judge has slashed a $500 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy unit over allegedly defective metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implants to approximately $151 million.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade in the Northern District of Texas said he was compelled to reduce the verdict under a Texas state law limiting punitive damages according to a specific formula.

In March, the five plaintiffs and three of their spouses had been collectively awarded roughly $360 million in punitive damages, along with $140 million in compensatory damages, following a two-month trial.

Kinkeade also denied J&J’s bid to set aside the verdicts and order a new trial. The company had argued jurors were biased by hearing irrelevant and unfair evidence during trial. Plaintiffs’ lawyers had claimed the company was seeking an improper “do-over” after its trial strategy backfired.

Mark Lanier and Richard Arsenault, lead lawyers for the Pinnacle plaintiffs, said they disagreed with Texas’ cap on punitive damages but were pleased J&J’s bid for a new trial had been rejected.

A lawyer for J&J, John Beisner, said that the company is “confident that the trial verdict will be reversed on appeal.”


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