United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Patricia A. Reid, Plaintiff,
Wright Medical Technology, Inc.; Wright Medical Group, Inc.; Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc.; Zimmer US, Inc.; and Zimmer, Inc., Defendants.
Michael D. Stinson and Ian A. Blodger, Dorsey & Whitney
LLP, Minneapolis, MN, for Plaintiff Patricia A. Reid.
William L. Moran, HKM Law Group, St. Paul, MN, and Anne A.
Gruner and Dana J. Ash, Duane Morris LLP, Philadelphia, PA,
for Defendant Wright Medical Technology, Inc.
OPINION AND ORDER
C. Tostrud United States District Judge
Wright Medical Technology, Inc. (“WMT”) produces
component parts used in hip replacement surgeries. In 2019,
Plaintiff Patricia A. Reid commenced this case against WMT
and others, alleging that she sustained injuries from
artificial hip components produced by Defendants that were
implanted during her hip replacement surgery in December
2012. WMT seeks to dismiss Count I of Reid's Amended
Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),
though only to the extent that it alleges a strict liability
claim based on a manufacturing defect. Mot. to Dismiss [ECF
No. 17]. WMT's partial motion to dismiss will be denied
because Reid's allegations describing significant
deviations from the components' expected performance are
enough to plead a plausible strict liability manufacturing
December 2012, doctors at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in
Minneapolis performed a total right hip arthroplasty, i.e.,
hip replacement surgery, on Reid. Am. Compl. ¶ 15 [ECF
No. 1-1]. During the surgery, doctors implanted five
artificial hip components designed, manufactured, marketed,
distributed and sold by Defendants. Id. ¶¶
16-17, 48, 50, 74, 76. Specifically, doctors implanted two
components produced by Zimmer (the Zimmer Trilogy Cup and
Longevity Liner) and three components produced by WMT (a
metal femoral head, the Profemur cobalt-chromium neck, and
the Profemur Plasma Z femoral stem). Id. ¶ 17.
Reid expected the components to last for at least 20 years
without any need for revision or replacement. Id.
2015, Reid sought medical treatment for pain in her right
hip. Id. ¶ 29. Reid's doctor determined
that she was suffering from an “adverse local tissue
reaction, ” possibly related to
“metallosis” or corrosion from the implant.
Id. ¶¶ 30-31. In May 2016, Reid's
doctor performed a revision of her surgery. Id.
¶ 32. Reid's doctor replaced the neck and head
components produced by WMT and the liner produced by Zimmer,
observing during that surgery the existence of corrosion and
“particulate wear debris . . . throughout the entire
joint.” Id. ¶¶ 33-35, 39-40. In
December 2016, the FDA issued a recall of WMT's metal
femoral head based on increased rates of revision surgeries
and the risk of a tissue reaction. Id. ¶¶
41-42. The FDA determined that the cause of the recall was
“defective design.” Id. ¶ 43. The
recall specifically identified the serial number of the metal
femoral head used in Reid's initial surgery. Id.
2019, Reid commenced this action by serving Defendants with a
Complaint claiming that she sustained injuries caused by the
artificial hip components produced by Defendants.
See Def. Notice of Removal ¶¶ 1-2 [ECF No.
1]; Mem. in Opp'n at 3 [ECF No. 27]; Minn. R. Civ. P.
3.01(a). One month later, Reid provided an Amended Complaint
to Defendants, asserting strict liability, negligence, and
breach of warranty claims.Defendants removed the case to federal
court, invoking this Court's diversity jurisdiction. Def.
Notice of Removal ¶¶ 7-24. In June 2019, the
Parties filed a stipulation of voluntary dismissal of all
claims against Defendants Wright Medical Group, Inc. and
Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. and of Count VI (Breach of
Warranty) against all remaining Defendants. Stip. of
Dismissal [ECF No. 15]. This Court subsequently issued an
order approving the Parties' stipulation and dismissing
those claims without prejudice. Order re Stip. [ECF No. 25].
remaining parties are of diverse citizenship-WMT is a
Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in
Tennessee, the Zimmer Defendants are Delaware corporations
with their principal place of business in Indiana, and Reid
is a citizen of Minnesota. Def. Notice of Removal
¶¶ 7-8, 11-12. Reid asserts exclusively state-law
claims against Defendants, seeks compensatory damages
“in an amount exceeding $50, 000.00 to be proven at
trial, ” alleges injuries that more likely than not
establish an amount in controversy above the $75, 000
jurisdictional threshold, and reserves the right to seek
amendment to plead a claim for punitive damages against WMT.
See Am. Compl. ¶ 46, 62 and Counts I-V; Def.
Notice of Removal ¶¶ 14-24; see also Bell v.
Hershey Co., 557 F.3d 953, 956 (8th Cir. 2009) (stating
defendant seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction through
removal “has the burden to prove the requisite amount
by a preponderance of the evidence” (quotation
omitted)). Reid has not moved for remand or otherwise
contested the valuation of her claims. Thus, this case is
properly in federal court on the basis of diversity
moved, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), to partially dismiss Count
I of Reid's Amended Complaint. Count I asserts a strict
liability claim against WMT under both defective design and
defective manufacturing theories. Am. Compl. ¶¶
47-62. WMT seeks to dismiss Count I only with respect to the
strict liability claim based on a manufacturing defect.
See Mem. in Supp. at 3 n. 2 [ECF No. 18].
reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept as true all of the
factual allegations in the complaint and draw all reasonable
inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Gorog v. Best
Buy Co., 760 F.3d 787, 792 (8th Cir. 2014) (citation
omitted). Although the factual allegations need not be
detailed, they must be sufficient to “raise a right to
relief above the speculative level . . . .” Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(citation omitted). The complaint must “state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id.
at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
this action is in federal court based on diversity of
citizenship, state law governs substantive law issues.”
Paine v. Jefferson Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 594 F.3d
989, 992 (8th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted); see also
Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938). The
Parties appear to agree that Minnesota law governs here as
both parties cite to Minnesota law and neither party ...