A federal court jury in Dallas on Thursday told Johnson & Johnson to pay $30 million in actual damages, plus more than $1 billion as a punishment, to six people who said they suffered medical complications from a line of discontinued metal Pinnacle-brand hip implements made by J&J's Massachusetts-based DuPuy Orthopaedics Inc. unit.

J&J, which collects about $1 billion in after-tax profits every three weeks from its extensive drug and medical device and equipment sales, was hit for another $500 million in hip-implant damages at a separate Texas trial in March. After Thursday's verdict, the company said in a statement to reporters that it designed and tested the hip joints lawfully, and it is likely to appeal the award. 

Mark Lanier, lawyer for the latest group of plaintiffs, who are California residents, said in this statement that the punishing verdicts should encourage J&J "to settle these cases and take care of their injured consumers."

Since the FDA tightened hip-replacement rules three years ago, following reports of damage to patients as companies' "metal-on-metal" joints wore out, J&J and other manufacturers turned instead to hips with ceramic and plastic sockets.

"J&J still faces almost 9,000 lawsuits accusing the company of mishandling the metal-on-metal hips," Bloomberg LP reports here.  "At $1.04 billion in damages, it's the third-largest overall jury award of 2016," and the largest for punitive damages, according to Bloomberg data.  

In a separate settlement, J&J in 2013 recalled 93,000 of its ASR line of hip joints, and agreed to pay at least $2.5 billion to compensate users for metal poisoning, premature wear and other problems.

The recent case is In Re DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL 3:11-md-0244