Thursday, August 6, 2015

No Strict Liability Claims for Medical Products/Devices

In two separate recent Pennsylvania Federal Court decisions, courts have ruled that Pennsylvania law does not allow for strict liability claims against prescription medical products, including medical devices.

In Cogswell v. Wright Medical Technology, 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 92461 (W.D. Pa. July 16, 2015 Bissoon, J.), the court granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss and held that Pennsylvania law does not allow strict liability claims against prescription medical products, including medical devices.  The court otherwise noted that strict liability manufacturing defect claims are barred.  Rather, negligence was found to be the only permitted theory.  The court additionally held that express and implied warranty claims were barred. 

In the separate decision of Wilson v. Synthes United States Products, LLC, NO. 2:2015-cv-00295, 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 92347 (E.D. Pa. July 15, 2015 Schmehl, J.), the court granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss in a products case.  Similar to the Cogswell decision, the court reasoned that Pennsylvania law does not allow strict liability claims against prescription medical products, including medical devices.  This court also noted that strict liability manufacturing defect claims were barred.  However, the negligence claims were found to be adequately pled.  This court also noted that Pennsylvania does not recognize a claim for negligent marketing, except when the conduct rises to overpromotion.

I send thanks to Attorney James Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith and writer of the great Drug and Device Law Blog for bringing these cases to my attention.


The Cogswell decision can be viewed HERE.


The Wilson decision can be viewed HERE.


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