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COA: Hip-replacement tort cases must be heard where implants were done

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Plaintiffs from Mississippi and Virginia may not pursue litigation in Marion County over defective replacement hip devices manufactured in northern Indiana, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

The panel reversed denial of a motion to dismiss filed by the device makers in Depuy Orthopaedics Inc. and, Johnson & Johnson v. Travis Brown, et al.,  49A02-1304-CT-332, and remanded to Marion Superior Judge John Hanley with instructions to grant dismissal.

The case centers on the ASR XL Acetabular System prosthetic hip implant that was sold and distributed by Warsaw-based Depuy Orthopaedics from 2005 to 2010 and later recalled. Eighteen people who received the implant in surgeries in Virginia and one in Mississippi filed this case in 2012.

Judge Rudy R. Pyle III wrote for the panel that the devices are the subject of multi-district litigation in federal courts, and that the plaintiffs can file elsewhere, but that the trial court erred in denying dismissal on the basis of forum non conveniens governed by Indiana Trial Rule 4.4(C).

Pyle wrote that a conflict-of-laws analysis and Trial Rule 4.4(C)(3) require the case to be heard where the hip replacements were implanted.

“(W)e see no evidence in the record that Virginia or Mississippi are inadequate forums. In fact, during oral argument, the plaintiffs’ desire for trial in Indiana focused on securing an earlier trial date rather than any deprivation of their rights if trial took place elsewhere. There has been no showing by the plaintiffs that trial in their home forum will deprive them of any remedy or subject them to unfair treatment," Pyle wrote.

“We reverse and remand to the trial court for issuance of the appropriate order dismissing this case for refiling in Virginia or Mississippi,” he wrote.

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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