A Washington woman has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over the allegedly defective hip implant that she received. Leta Sperry claims that her Pinnacle metal hip implant gave her heavy metal poisoning and forced her to undergo surgery, Law360 reported.

In her 59-page complaint, Sperry details how J&J is responsible for her injuries. Sperry’s complaint states that the corporate giant “directly and/or through the actions of its subsidiaries, has at all pertinent times participated in developing [Pinnacle], greenlighted its sale worldwide, held the product out as its own, independently promoted the product, exercised ultimate controlling authority over the product’s design and promotion, sold the product and derived revenue from its sale such that it is the responsible authority over the research, development, testing, manufacture, production, marketing, promotion, distribution and/or sale of the product at issue in this litigation.” 

In addition to Johnson & Johnson, Sperry also accuses the distributor, A1A Inc, of being responsible for her injuries.

Allegedly, as early as the 1960s, metal-on-metal hip implants were being used but they “failed early, failed often, and were not as safe or effective as implants utilizing metal-on-plastic components or other alternative designs,” Sperry claims in her complaint. 

These failures resulted in heavy metal poisoning, tissue death, bone loss, and other serious health concerns caused by the friction of the metal against metal, resulting in flakes of material being scraped off and entering the surrounding tissue. According to the complaint, these dangers were known and were the reason that metal-on-metal hip implants were abandoned in the 1970s.

However, through the alleged use of a loophole, J&J was able to “revive” metal on metal implants and avoid clinical testing that would have revealed the dangers of its new product, Pinnacle. According to the complaint, J&J did no clinical testing by claiming that the new hip implants were substantially similar to metal-on-metal hip implants sold before 1976. Despite using implants from the ‘60s and ‘70s for the basis of their approval, J&J allegedly did not note that these same implants had the same high rate of heavy metal poisoning, failure, and tissue death as their new “substantially similar” models.

Sperry’s complaint claims that if J&J had been forced to conduct safety and efficacy tests on the Pinnacle implant system, the company would have discovered that the Pinnacle system “releases high amounts of toxic heavy metals resulting in an unreasonable risk of harm and revision surgeries.” 

Furthermore, it is alleged that J&J misrepresented the rate of metal wear the Pinnacle system would undergo by relying on laboratory testing of plastic on metal components. The complaint states that J&J “knew or should have known that such testing does not produce reliable data regarding clinical safety or efficacy for [metal-on-metal] implants.” 

The complaint makes a total of 16 allegations against J&J, concluding with 9 legal charges including fraud, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, violation of the consumer protection act, negligence, design and manufacturing defect, failure to warn, and negligent misrepresentation. In the section demanding a jury trial, the complaint lists what it would like as compensation: compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees and expenses, and “such damages as the jury finds to be fair and reasonable under the circumstances.”

If you or a loved one have been injured by a metal-on-metal hip implant, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recoup medical expenses and other compensation. Fill out a free case review to see if you qualify today.