We have had occasion over the years to opine on cases involving allegations against sales representatives who are present in the operating room—a not uncommon practice when medical devices are being used. While the practice is not uncommon, what is rare are instances where a sales representative participates in the surgery. Rare, but not non-existent. Where the line is drawn between presence and participation, and possibility liability or not, is extremely fact sensitive. And as the court in Owens v. Boston SCI Corp. concluded, in the absence of facts, conclusory allegations of participation are not enough. 2022 U.S. DIST. Lexis 212427, *7 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 23, 2022).
Plaintiff underwent surgery involving implantation of a pelvic mesh medical device. Plaintiff alleged complications following surgery and filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer alleging design defects and against one of the manufacturer’s sales representatives for failure to warn both plaintiff’s surgeon and plaintiff. The manufacturer removed the case to federal court alleging the sales representative, who was not diverse to plaintiff, was fraudulently joined. Plaintiff moved to remand.