A federal judge will ask the US Attorneys Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to question witnesses regarding potential witness tampering in an ongoing DePuy Pinnacle trial.
DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, has been sued along with J&J for their metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip devices, which release cobalt and chromium metals in a patient’s body and ultimately cause metallosis, pseudotumors, and other conditions which require surgery to remove the defective device.
In Dallas the presiding Judge Kinkeade noted the potential witness tampering was “disturbing and disconcerting to me”. The issue revolves around what occurred between the witness Dr. David Shein and sales reps for DePuy. The surgeon claims that during an operation he was warned of business ramifications of what occurs when he acts as a witness during upcoming Dallas testimony.
The lead plaintiff trial attorney noted:
“It is extremely concerning to me when there are requirements under the federal law, as well as state law, that witnesses not be tampered with, that—that it’s a serious felony, that it involves prison time, that it cuts to the core of who we are as a people and what our courts are about”
J&J requested a gag order to prevent the public from knowing about this issue, but the judge denied their request. Prior verdicts against DePuy for Pinnacle cases included a $1.04 Billion verdict and $498 million verdict on behalf of two groups of plaintiffs.