United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER (DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT)
R. GOODWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the court is defendant C. R. Bard's
(“Bard”) Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No.
72]. As set forth below, Bard's Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED IN PART with respect to the
plaintiff's claims for manufacturing defect, breach of
implied warranty, breach of express warranty, and negligent
inspection, packaging, marketing, and selling. Bard's
Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED IN PART with respect to
the plaintiff's design defect and failure to warn claims.
case resides in one of seven MDLs assigned to me by the
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation concerning the use
of transvaginal surgical mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse
(“POP”) and stress urinary incontinence
(“SUI”). In the seven MDLs, there are more than
58, 000 cases currently pending, approximately 8, 000 of
which are in the Bard MDL, MDL 2187. In an effort to
efficiently and effectively manage this massive MDL, I
decided to conduct pretrial discovery and motions practice on
an individualized basis so that once a case is trial-ready
(that is, after the court has ruled on all Daubert
motions and summary judgment motions, among other things), it
can then be promptly transferred or remanded to the
appropriate district for trial. To this end, I ordered the
plaintiffs and defendant to each select 50 cases, which would
then become part of a “wave” of cases to be
prepared for trial and, if necessary, remanded. See
Pretrial Order (“PTO”) # 102, No. 2:12-md-2187
[ECF No. 729]. This selection process was completed twice,
creating two waves of 100 cases, Wave 1 and Wave 2. Ms.
Havanick's case was selected as a Wave 2 case by the
plaintiffs. PTO # 118, No. 2:12-md-2187 [ECF No. 841].
Havanick was surgically implanted with the Align Urethral
Support System (the “Align”) by Dr. Kenneth Blau
at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut. Am. Short Form
Compl. ¶¶ 9-13 [ECF No. 237]. As a result of
complications allegedly caused by the Align, Ms. Havanick
brings the following claims against Bard: strict liability
for design defect, manufacturing defect, and failure to warn;
negligence; breaches of express and implied warranties; and
punitive damages. Id. at ¶ 14. In the instant
Motion, Bard moves for partial summary judgment on a number
of different grounds. See Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J.
(“Mem. in Supp.”) [ECF No. 73].
obtain summary judgment, the moving party must show that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In considering a motion for
summary judgment, the court will not “weigh the
evidence and determine the truth of the matter.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249
(1986). Instead, the court will draw any permissible
inference from the underlying facts in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986).
the court will view all underlying facts and inferences in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the
nonmoving party nonetheless must offer some “concrete
evidence from which a reasonable juror could return a verdict
in his [or her] favor.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at
256. Summary judgment is appropriate when the nonmoving party
has the burden of proof on an essential element of his or her
case and does not make, after adequate time for discovery, a
showing sufficient to establish that element. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The
nonmoving party must satisfy this burden of proof by offering
more than a mere “scintilla of evidence” in
support of his or her position. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 252. Likewise, conclusory allegations or unsupported
speculation, without more, are insufficient to preclude the
granting of a summary judgment motion. See Dash v.
Mayweather, 731 F.3d 303, 311 (4th Cir. 2013); Stone
v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 105 F.3d 188, 191 (4th Cir.
Choice of Law
28 U.S.C. § 1407, this court has authority to rule on
pretrial motions in MDL cases such as this. The choice of law
for these pretrial motions depends on whether they involve
federal or state law. “When analyzing questions of
federal law, the transferee court should apply the law of the
circuit in which it is located. When considering questions of
state law, however, the transferee court must apply the state
law that would have applied to the individual cases had they
not been transferred for consolidation.” In re
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Implants Prods. Liab.
Litig., 97 F.3d 1050, 1055 (8th Cir. 1996) (internal
citations omitted). In cases based on diversity jurisdiction,
the choice-of-law rules to be used are those of the states
where the actions were originally filed. See In re Air
Disaster at Ramstein Air Base, Ger., 81 F.3d 570, 576
(5th Cir. 1996) (“Where a transferee court presides
over several diversity actions consolidated under the
multidistrict rules, the choice of law rules of each
jurisdiction in which the transferred actions were originally
filed must be applied.”); In re Air Crash Disaster
Near Chi., Ill., 644 F.2d 594, 610 (7th Cir. 1981);
In re Digitek Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No.
2:08-md-01968, 2010 WL 2102330, at *7 (S.D. W.Va. May 25,
plaintiff files her claim directly into the MDL in the
Southern District of West Virginia, however, as Ms. Havanick
did in this case, I consult the choice-of-law rules of the
state in which the plaintiff was implanted with the product.
See Sanchez v. Boston Scientific Corp.,
2:12-cv-05762, 2014 WL 202787, at *4 (S.D. W.Va. Jan. 17,
2014) (“For cases that originate elsewhere and are
directly filed into the MDL, I will follow the
better-reasoned authority that applies the choice-of-law
rules of the originating jurisdiction, which in our case is
the state in which the plaintiff was implanted with the
product.”). Ms. Havanick received the implantation
surgery for the Align in Connecticut. Thus, the choice-of-law
principles of Connecticut guide this court's
parties agree, as does this court, that these principles
compel application of Connecticut law. Connecticut typically
follows the lex loci deliciti doctrine, which states
“that the substantive rights and obligations arising
out of a tort controversy are determined by the law of the
place of injury.” O'Connor v.
O'Connor, 519 A.2d 13, 15 (Conn. 1986). Connecticut
courts have held that in situations where the lex loci
deliciti doctrine would produce irrational results,
courts should also consider the choice-of-law principles
found in the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws.
Id. at 21-22 (“It is therefore our conclusion
that we too should incorporate the guidelines of the
Restatement as the governing principles for those cases in
which application of the doctrine of lex loci would
produce an arbitrary, irrational result.”). Under the
Restatement (Second) analysis, “[i]n an action for a
personal injury, the local law of the state where the injury
occurred determines the rights and liabilities of the
parties, unless, with respect to the particular issue, some
other state has a more significant relationship.”
Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws § 146 (1971).
Here, the alleged wrong occurred in Connecticut, and
Connecticut has the most significant relationship to the
claims. Thus, under either analytical framework, I apply
Connecticut's substantive law to the claims in this case.
Connecticut Product Liability Act
initial matter, Bard argues that Ms. Havanick's several
claims should instead be treated as one single claim governed
by the Connecticut Product Liability Act (the
“CPLA”). See Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. §
52-572; see also Winslow v. Lewis-Shepard, Inc., 562
A.2d 517, 521 (Conn. 1989) (“The legislature clearly
intended to make our products liability act an exclusive
remedy for claims falling within its scope.”). The
plaintiff does not contest that the CPLA governs her claims.
Accordingly, each of the plaintiff's theories of recovery
in this case will be deemed part of a single claim under the
argues that it is entitled to partial summary judgment in
this case because the plaintiff's claims lack evidentiary
support. The plaintiff has agreed not to pursue manufacturing
defect claims. Response 1 [ECF No. 134]. Accordingly,
Bard's Motion for Summary Judgment on the plaintiff's
claims for ...