Judge grants motion to dismiss San Diego woman's product liability suit against Abbott Laboratories

By Takesha Thomas | Feb 28, 2019

SAN DIEGO – The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California recently granted a motion by Abbott Laboratories to dismiss a San Diego's woman's lawsuit that claimed she suffered injuries because of a failed medical device. 

In a Feb. 21 filing, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Anello granted Abbott's motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Regina Marie Wagner for lack of personal jurisdiction. 

According to background in the ruling, Wagner alleged that Abbott was responsible for an injury she sustained after the medical device, referred to as the Angio-Seal VIP Vascular Closure Device, was deployed in her right leg. 

In May 2016, she discovered from her physician that the device that during a prior surgery the device failed. Doctors later attempted to surgically correct the failed device, however it had already caused nerve damage to Wagner's right leg, resulting in pain and suffering.

Abbott, an Illinois-based company, argued that the device in question was never owned, manufactured, or sold by them. Instead, the company said it acquired St. Jude Medical Inc. in January 2017, "nearly eight months after Wagner discovered the failed Angio-Seal device in her leg," court filings said. Additionally, Abbott argued that St. Jude Medical manufactured, marketed, promoted and sold the device prior to the acquisition. 

Wagner had claimed that the company marketed and sold the device in California, therefore making them liable.

In his ruling, Anello found Wagner did not prove that her claim “arises out of or relates to the defendant’s forum-related activities.”

"Even assuming Plaintiff’s allegations are sufficient to satisfy the first prong of the specific jurisdiction test (defendant must purposefully direct its activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or resident), Plaintiff has not met her burden with respect to the second prong of the test," Anello wrote. 

Anello wrote that the second prong requires plaintiff’s claim to be one which “arises out of or relates to the defendant’s forum-related activities.”

"...[T]he Court finds that Plaintiff fails to show a causal nexus between Defendants’ activities in the forum and her injury," the ruling states.

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