When last we wrote, we had just watched our gorgeous standard poodle puppy, Luca, compete in his first weekend of dog shows. He was still learning the ropes, and, though he looked beautiful, he did not win any points. (Dog shows are worth from one to five points for each breed, depending on the number
What’s In a Name? A Lot When It Comes to Specific Personal Jurisdiction
Today’s message is a reminder that specific personal jurisdiction is just that – both specific and personal. That means plaintiffs can’t group plead their way around personal jurisdiction lumping parents and subsidiaries together. Plaintiffs must identify each defendant’s individual role in causing the alleged harm. If plaintiffs seek to impute the jurisdictional contacts of one…
A Primer on Alternative Design
Back in the antediluvian era of the Bone Screw Litigation some 25 years ago, Bexis was responsible for crafting (and sometimes outright inventing, see fraud on the FDA) defenses for that then-unusual medical device-related mass tort. One of the first post-MDL-remand Bone Screw cases involved a Louisiana statute, La. Stat. Rev. §9:2800.56, requiring that, for a product to be “unreasonably dangerous in design,” the plaintiff must establish that “[t]here existed an alternative design for the product that was capable of preventing the claimant’s damage” based on the statute’s risk/utility test.…
Comment K, Presumptions, and Medical Device Design Defects Under Texas Law
As much as we liked those parts of In re DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, 888 F.3d 753 (5th Cir. 2018) (applying Texas law), that overturned a half-billion dollar verdict caused by a combination of attorney misconduct and judicial lassitude, we also recognized the problematic effects of certain other Fifth Circuit rulings in that decision. While the good parts of Pinnacle Hip were good enough to win that decision a spot in our 2018 top ten cases, that decision’s adverse aspects were bad enough that it also landed on our list of 2018’s worst ten decisions. Specifically we observed:
The most serious error the court made was refusing to apply established Texas law that comment k precludes strict liability across the board. Pinnacle Hip ignored – really ignored − a half dozen prior decisions (including one of its own) on this issue. Even if there wasn’t any precedent (which there was), expanding state-law liability where the state courts have not is not the job of a federal court sitting in diversity.
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Jurisdictional Discovery Is Not Bigger in Texas
One of the stock P-side responses, in the post-Bauman personal jurisdiction environment, to a jurisdictionally-based motion to dismiss is to seek “jurisdictional discovery” – the more onerous the better – in an attempt both to slow the often-inevitable dismissal and also to drive up the nuisance value of the case. That’s the main reason that on our personal jurisdiction cheat sheet we note when jurisdictional discovery is denied.…
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Two Strikes Against Plaintiff’s Experts in Texas Pelvic Mesh Case
This post is from the non-Reed Smith side of the blog.
Defendants in Pizzitola v. Ethicon, Inc., filed motions to exclude two of plaintiff’s experts and both decisions (two orders issued) heavily favored the defense, rejecting recurrent design defect arguments by plaintiffs.
The product at issue is synthetic pelvic mesh. Plaintiff’s first challenged expert was a gynecologic surgeon. While is area of practice may overlap with issues in the case, his report went well beyond both relevant issues and his area of expertise. Namely, plaintiff’s expert wanted to opine that lots of things were alternative designs that in fact were not. Starting with a different medical procedure altogether. “It is not an alternative design of any product. In fact, it is not a product at all.” Pizzitola I, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184352, *6 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 7, 2022). Plaintiff argued the testimony was relevant to a risk/utility analysis but showing that a different medical procedure may be safer, “does not affect whether a product has utility and/or risks.” Id. at *7. The decision to perform a different medical procedure lies within the medical judgment of the treating surgeon and has no bearing on the design of the device at issue. Id. …
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Removal Of A Removable IVC Filter Not Sufficient Proof Of Causation
We have written quite a few posts about litigation over inferior vena cava filters made by various companies. Most of those posts focused on decisions in cases pending in or remanded after a stint in one of two MDLs. Broadly speaking, those decisions involved filters intended to remain in place permanently and alleged injuries from…
Eastern District of Texas Tells Plaintiff to Try Again
Food Labeling Claims Get the Boot in Texas
They say everything is bigger in Texas and when it comes to cowboy boots – they are actually correct. Built by Bob “Daddy-O” Wade in 1979, the largest cowboy boots in the world measure 35 feet tall and 33 feet long and purportedly can hold 300,000 gallons of beer. They stand in front of a…
S.D. Texas Dismisses Consortium Claim for Pre-Marital Injuries
Back by popular demand, here is the mesh case of the week: Clowe v. Ethicon, Inc., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46387 (N.D. Texas March 16, 2022). There is a bit of same-old-same-old in this case, but there is also something new.
Let’s start by getting through the same-old. The plaintiffs (the wife suffered the…