Victory for Medical Device Manufacturer Marks Continued Success in Large-Exposure Products Liability Litigation March 13, 2012
Brian T. Stapleton of Goldberg Segalla’s White Plains office obtained summary judgment dismissal of a large-exposure products liability case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. This is Brian’s second major Southern District summary judgment victory in large-exposure products liability cases in the last six months. Both cases involved allegedly defective medical devices.
The plaintiff in this case was a podiatrist diagnosed with sleep apnea. He was prescribed use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to aid his breathing while he slept. He was seriously injured while using the device: after getting out of bed one evening he tripped over the CPAP’s patient tube, striking his eye on the corner of his nightstand and subsequently losing all vision in the injured eye.
The plaintiff sued the manufacturer of the device and the distributor under theories of manufacturing defect, design defect, failure to warn, and breach of warranty. After taking extensive discovery, Brian and counsel for the distributor moved to strike the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony under Daubert, and also for summary judgment dismissal. In a detailed 42-page decision issued March 13, 2012, the trial court adopted Brian’s statement of facts and legal arguments wholesale, and granted the defense motions in their entirety. Notably, in granting dismissal of the design defect claim, the trial court cited to a recent September 2011 Southern District decision, another case in which Brian won summary judgment dismissal of a design defect claim.
These two cases represent significant victories in large-exposure medical device claims. The opinions establish favorable defense precedent in the areas of design defect, manufacturing defect, and Daubert exclusion that will hopefully provide a solid foundation for future defense victories. Additionally, they re-affirm Goldberg Segalla’s position as a premier trial defense firm in large-exposure products liability cases.