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Articles Tagged with federal court

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The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky recently ruled in favor of a medical device manufacturer in a products liability case in which the plaintiff did not participate in written discovery. In Johnson v. Zimmer Holdings, Inc., a man had four medical devices implanted into his body when he underwent hip surgery in 2010. Unfortunately, the man’s hip dislocated at least six times between 2010 and 2012. About two years after his initial surgery, the man underwent a second procedure to replace three of the four medical products. Following the second surgery, the man filed a products liability lawsuit in a Kentucky federal court against the manufacturer of the medical devices that were initially implanted into his body. According to his complaint, the man experienced pain, suffering, emotional distress, and unnecessary surgery as a result of the medical device manufacturer’s defective products.

Pursuant to the Eastern District of Kentucky’s scheduling order, the parties entered into the discovery stage of the lawsuit. This is a pre-trial phase of a case in which each party is entitled to request certain relevant information from the opposing side. Discovery may include depositions, interrogatory and document requests, and more. Although the medical device manufacturer served the allegedly harmed man with written discovery requests, he failed to submit any discovery requests prior to the deadline that was imposed by the court. As a result, the medical device manufacturer filed a motion for summary judgment in the case.

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In Putnam v. Medtronic, Inc., an Indiana woman filed a medical product injury lawsuit asserting 15 state-law causes of action in Jefferson County Circuit Court against her Kentucky doctor, the manufacturer of a medical product, and the Kentucky hospital where she underwent spinal fusion surgery. According to the woman’s complaint, the physician used the medical product to treat her in an off-label manner that was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In addition, she accused the manufacturer of the product of intentionally and illegally promoting it for off-label use. The woman claimed she suffered harm as a result of this unapproved use and asked the Circuit Court to award her both compensatory and punitive damages.

The manufacturer of the medical product immediately removed the woman’s case to the Western District of Kentucky in Louisville based on diversity of citizenship. The manufacturer also asserted that removal was appropriate because the case involved questions of federal law. In response, the woman filed a motion to remand the lawsuit back to state court.

In considering the woman’s motion, the U.S. District Court examined the two sources of federal jurisdiction alleged in the case. Diversity jurisdiction is proper when the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and the parties hail from different states. Federal question jurisdiction exists only when a lawsuit arises from the United States Constitution, federal statutes, or a treaty the nation is a party to. The U.S. District Court continued by stating the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party that seeks removal, and the case must be remanded if jurisdiction is not proper.

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