Stryker’s Motion to Dismiss Punitive Damages is Denied in Pain Pump Case

On April 21st, Judge Lloyd D. George of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada ruled that Dorothy Vialpando sufficiently pleaded a claim for punitive damages against Stryker Corp. Vialpando claims Stryker’s pain pump caused her to lose cartilage in her shoulder after a 2006 shoulder surgery. Vialpando has since been diagnosed with postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis – or PAGCL – is a very painful condition that occurs in the shoulder when the cartilage between the humeral head and the glenoid (the ball and socket of your shoulder) has broken down to the point where bone meets bone.

In a January 8, 2010 complaint, plaintiff alleges that Stryker failed to warn her or her surgeon that the pain pumps were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the joint space or that there were “unreasonable risks and dangers of using the pain pump” in the joint space that lead to her injury. Plaintiff alleges that Stryker’s acts and omissions “are the result of willful and malicious or intentionally fraudulent conduct, or conduct that manifests a knowing and reckless indifference toward, and a disregard of, the rights of others.” Judge George denied Stryker’s motion to dismiss the punitive damages claim, finding that the complaint “contains several well-pleaded facts sufficient to state a claim of fraud, malice or oppression by defendants and therefore states a claim that satisfies Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),” which is the failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. He continues, “because plaintiff’s allegations are taken as true, and because the claims allege fraudulent or malicious conduct, they successfully lay a claim for punitive damages.”

If you or a loved one have been effected by a Stryker pain pump in a similar fashion, please contact the lawyers at Gacovino Lake & Associates today to consult with a lawyer in our New York office – 1-800-246-4878.

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