United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER (PLAINTIFFS' MOTION
FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT)
C. CHAMBERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment [ECF No. 79] wherein plaintiffs Sandra
Childress and Timothy Childress move for partial summary
judgment on various affirmative defenses raised by defendants
Ethicon, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson (collectively,
“Ethicon”) that are based on the purported
negligence of Ms. Childress's physicians. For the reasons
set forth below, the plaintiffs' Motion is
GRANTED in part and DENIED in
action involves Tennessee co-plaintiffs, one of whom was
implanted with Tension-free Vaginal Tape (“TVT”),
a mesh product manufactured by Ethicon, on June 30, 2006. Am.
Short Form Compl. [ECF No. 20] ¶¶ 1-12. The case
resides in one of seven MDLs assigned to the Honorable Joseph
R. Goodwin 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”). This individual case is one
of a group of cases that the Clerk of the Court reassigned to
me on November 22, 2016. [ECF No. 101]. In the seven MDLs,
there are approximately 28, 000 cases currently pending,
nearly 17, 000 of which are in the Ethicon MDL, MDL 2327.
to the reassignment, in an effort to manage the massive
Ethicon MDL efficiently and effectively, Judge Goodwin
decided to conduct pretrial discovery and motions practice on
an individualized basis. To this end, Judge Goodwin ordered
the plaintiffs and defendants to submit a joint list of 200
of the oldest cases in the Ethicon MDL that name only
Ethicon, Inc., Ethicon, LLC, and/or Johnson & Johnson.
These cases became part of a “wave” of cases to
be prepared for trial and, if necessary, remanded.
See Pretrial Order No. 206, In re Ethicon, Inc.
Pelvic Repair Sys. Prods. Liab. Litig., No.
2:12-md-02327, Nov. 20, 2015,
Once a case is trial-ready (that is, after the court has
ruled on all summary judgment motions, among other things),
it can then be promptly transferred or remanded to the
appropriate district for trial. The court selected this case
as an “Ethicon Wave 2 case.”
may dispose of affirmative defenses by summary judgment.
Int'l Ship Repair & Marine Servs., Inc. v. St.
Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 944 F.Supp. 886, 891
(M.D. Fla. 1996). To 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 alleged 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). Notwithstanding, the nonmoving
party 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.
judgment is appropriate when the nonmoving party does not
make, after adequate time for discovery, a showing sufficient
to establish an essential element of his or her case.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). In other words, the nonmoving party must offer 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 speculations,
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. 1997).
Choice of Law
parties agree that Tennessee choice-of-law principles apply
to this case and that these principles compel the application
of Tennessee substantive law to the plaintiffs' claims.
28 U.S.C. § 1407, this court has authority to rule on
pretrial motions in MDL cases. The choice of law for these
pretrial motions depends on whether they concern federal or
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
In re Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Implants Prods. Liab.
Litig., 97 F.3d 1050, 1055 (8th Cir. 1996) (citations
omitted). If a plaintiff files her claim directly into the
MDL in the Southern District of West Virginia, as Ms.
Childress did in this case, the court consults the
choice-of-law rules of the state where 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, the court 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 ...