Kentucky Federal Court dismisses woman’s medical device product liability lawsuit

by Mandy Hicks

In Babich-Zacharias v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a woman filed a product liability lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky after she allegedly suffered a number of adverse health effects from using the company’s intrauterine contraceptive device (“IUD”). According to her complaint, the woman developed idiopathic intracranial hypertension as a result of her use of the device that was designed to stay in the body for up to five years. If not properly treated, the condition can result in severe headaches and temporary blindness.

The woman claimed the patient pamphlet provided to her when the IUD was inserted failed to warn her of the link between her condition and use of the product. Despite this, the woman admitted the information stated further research regarding the medical product was needed. The woman also claimed that the medical device manufacturer failed to conduct sufficient clinical testing and intentionally concealed known risks associated with use of the device from patients and medical professionals in the company’s marketing products.

In response to the woman’s lawsuit, the pharmaceutical company filed a motion to dismiss her lawsuit for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. According to the U.S. District Court, a pleading must include a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” When considering such a motion, a federal court is required to assume all of the facts included in the complaint are true and make any inferences in favor of the non-moving party. The federal court added that a claim must be plausible on its face.

The medical device manufacturer argued that the injured woman failed to provide sufficient detail to support her claims. Instead, the pharmaceutical company maintained that the woman made a “formulaic recitation of elements for certain causes of action” and failed to specify sufficient facts in her complaint.

After reviewing the pleadings, the U.S. District Court agreed with the medical device manufacturer and held that the woman did not provide adequate facts to support her allegations. The court stated the woman failed to name the practitioners involved in inserting the medical device or the medical provider who diagnosed her subsequent illness. In addition, the federal court held that the woman’s nine claims fell short of the detail required in order to plead her case. Because of this, the U.S. District Court granted the pharmaceutical company’s motion and dismissed the woman’s lawsuit but provided her with leave to amend her complaint and correct her pleading defects within 20 days.

If you were hurt by a medical device manufacturer’s dangerous or defective product in Kentucky, you need a products liability lawyer on your side to advocate on your behalf. The attorneys at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP have years of experience representing personal injury victims. To schedule a free confidential consultation with a knowledgeable Bowling Green personal injury advocate, please call English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP at (270) 781-6500 today or contact us through our website.

Additional Resources:

Babich-Zacharias v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., U.S. Dist. Court, Western District of Kentucky 2015

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