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No punitive damages awarded in hip replacement case

No punitive damages awarded in hip replacement case

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ST. LOUIS — A federal jury here on Wednesday declined to award punitive damages to a couple that already had been awarded $21 million in a lawsuit over failed artificial hip implants.

The first verdict came Oct. 22, when jurors awarded $20 million to Mary Bayes and $1 million to her husband, Philip Bayes.

A juror learned after the verdict that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, triggering a two-week delay in the proceedings, court records show.

Jurors were then tasked with assessing punitive damages against the manufacturer of Mary Bayes’ artificial hip, Biomet Inc., but declined to do so Wednesday.

The St. Louis County couple sued Indiana-based Biomet, now Zimmer Biomet, in 2013, claiming that the M2a-Magnum metal-on-metal hip implant system was defective and had not been adequately tested. The metal parts of the artificial joint shed cobalt and chromium fragments, the suit said, causing rejection of the artificial hip, as well as tissue or bone death. Patients then had to have the Biomet hip removed and replaced, the suit says.

Bayes had her right hip replaced in January 2008 and her left hip replaced that April.

The implants failed, causing her “severe pain, elevated metal levels, and ‘metallosis,’” the suit says. She had her left hip replaced in 2011, followed by five hip dislocations and three more surgeries. She had not had the right hip replaced by the time she filed suit.

The company denied Bayes’ allegations. They told Bloomberg that they would appeal the St. Louis verdict.

Zimmer Biomet agreed to settle hundreds of cases as part of a class action in 2014 for up to $200,000 each.

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