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Wilson v. Synthes USA Prods., LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 16, 2015

JAMES P. WILSON and JACQUELYN H. WILSON, Plaintiffs,
v.
SYNTHES USA PRODUCTS, LLC, SYNTHES SPINE COMPANY, LP, SYNTHES SPINE, INC., SYNTHES USA HQ, INC., and SYNTHES NORTH AMERICA, INC., Defendants

Filed July 15, 2015

For JAMES P. WILSON, JACQUELYN H. WILSON, Plaintiffs: MAXWELL S. KENNERLY, LEAD ATTORNEY, THE BEASLEY FIRM, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

For SYNTHES USA PRODUCTS, LLC, SYNTHES SPINE COMPANY, LP, SYNTHES SPINE, INC., SYNTHES USA HQ, INC., SYNTHES NORTH AMERICA, INC., Defendants: LAUREN E. O'DONNELL, TERRY M. HENRY, LEAD ATTORNEYS, BLANK ROME LLP, PHILADELPHIA, PA; MICHAEL J. WIGGINS, MCDONALD TOOLE WIGGINS PA, ORLANDO, FL.

Page 464

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Jeffrey L. Schmehl, J.

Before the Court is the motion to dismiss of Defendants, Synthes USA Products, LLC, Synthes Spine Company, LP, Synthes Spine, Inc., Synthes USA HQ, Inc., and Synthes North America, Inc. (" Defendants" ). Plaintiffs, James P. Wilson and Jacquelyn H. Wilson (" Plaintiffs" ) have opposed the motion, and Defendants have filed a reply and a " Notice of Supplemental Authority." Further, Plaintiffs have filed their own " Notice of Supplemental Authority." Having read the parties' briefing, I will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss in part and deny it in part.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs filed this products liability action against Defendants in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on March 14, 2014, and on August 14, 2014, Defendants removed the matter to this Court. Thereafter, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss, claiming Plaintiffs' Complaint does not set forth a plausible cause of action against Defendants and therefore, should be dismissed. Specifically, Plaintiffs' Complaint asserts four claims against Defendants: 1) strict liability; 2) negligence; 3) negligence per se ; and 4) loss of consortium. (See Compl.)

II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

On March 16, 2010, James Wilson's doctor implanted two N-Hance spinal fixation rods manufactured by Defendants in an attempt to repair Mr. Wilson's back injuries.

Page 465

(Compl. ¶ 13.) In March of 2012, imaging studies showed that the N-Hance rods had failed and that both rods implanted in Mr. Wilson's back had broken in a similar manner. (Compl. ¶ 14.) Plaintiffs allege, in short, that a properly designed and manufactured spine implant should not bend, fracture or break once implanted, and that the N-Hance implants did so because of problems at the manufacturing plant and because of an inherently defective design that made the rods prone to breakage. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 15-17.)

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must allege facts that " 'raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007.) In determining whether a complaint is sufficient, the court must accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citing Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)).

Although " conclusory" or " bare-bones allegations" will not survive a motion to dismiss, Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210, a complaint may not be dismissed merely because it appears unlikely that the plaintiff can prove those facts or will ultimately prevail on the merits. Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231. Nonetheless, to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must provide " enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the ...


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