Northern District of Florida Dismisses Defective Design Case Over Lack of Supporting Evidence

In Witt v. Howmedicall Osteonics Corp., a woman had a medical device surgically implanted into her knee in 2008.  The following year, she had the allegedly defective device removed and underwent total knee replacement surgery. After her second surgical procedure, the woman filed a strict liability and negligence lawsuit against the manufacturer of the medical device in the Northern District of Florida.  According to the woman’s complaint, she suffered personal injuries as a result of the medical product’s defective design.

In response to her lawsuit, the medical device manufacturer filed a motion for summary judgment with the court.  In general, a motion for summary judgment may be granted when there are no material facts in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  When considering such a motion, a court must view the facts offered in the light that is most favorable to the non-moving party.

In order to prevail on her negligent design claim, the Northern District of Florida stated the woman was required to demonstrate that the product manufacturer owed her a duty, it breached that duty, the woman was injured as a result of that breach, and she suffered damages due to her harm.  Similarly, the court said in order to prove strict liability the woman had to demonstrate that the manufacturer created or had a relationship to the knee device, the product contained an unreasonably dangerous defect, and the dangerous condition proximately caused her harm.  The court added that both theories of liability required the woman to show the medical device was defectively designed and her injuries were proximately caused by the manufacturer’s acts or omissions.

Next, the federal court examined the facts of the case.  The court stated the only evidence offered by the woman regarding the allegedly defective medical device was the testimony of an excluded witness the court previously deemed to be unreliable.  Since the woman failed to offer any expert or other evidence indicating that the knee device was defectively designed, the Northern District of Florida found that the woman failed to meet her burden on this issue.

The court then dismissed the woman’s claim that the manufacturer’s subsequent recall and notice that the medical device could loosen was evidence the product installed in her knee was defectively designed.  The court stated the evidence proffered by the woman was not authenticated or supported by competent testimony.  Since the woman merely offered unsupported assertions that the medical device implanted into her body was defectively designed, the Northern District of Florida granted the manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case.

If you were hurt by a medical device manufacturer’s defective product, you need a capable personal injury lawyer to advocate on your behalf.  To schedule a free consultation regarding your right to recover damages for your harm with a knowledgeable Miami dangerous and defective products attorney today, do not hesitate to give the caring personal injury advocates at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. a call at (305) 448-8585 or contact us through our website.

Additional Resources:

Witt v. Howmedicall Osteonics Corp., Dist. Court, ND Florida 2015

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