Breg Inc., a division of Orthofix International (NSDQ:OFIX), declared victory in the first of a series of pain pump lawsuits to make it to trial.
A Billings, Mont., jury deemed Breg blameless of charges that it manufactured and sold a pump found to be defective and unreasonably dangerous.
The complaint, one of about 75 pending against the Huntersville, N.C.-based company, was brought by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stuart Davis, who sought more than $6 million in a suit alleging that the Breg pump damaged his shoulder. The damage the pump allegedly cause forced Stuart to have a total shoulder replacement surgery, which in turn compelled him into a lower-paying career as an anesthesiologist, according to a statement from Breg’s lawyers, Bowman & Brooke LLP.
The pump allegedly delivered dangerous doses of medication to Davis through an injection directly into his shoulder joint, causing post-arthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis, "an irreversible, disabling and extremely painful condition" in which a joint loses almost all of its cartilage, according to the complaint.
After six days of arguments and a day of deliberation, the seven-person jury unanimously found that Breg conformed to the state of the art for pain pumps at the time, ruling that the company could not be held liable despite its determination that Breg was negligent in designing the pump and that the negligence was the cause of injury to Stuart.
"I think people will perceive this as a win," Breg lawyer George Soule told Law360.com (paid). "Each of these cases has individual, unique facts, and I don’t think the jury’s findings on the other issues really have much portability."
Orthofix ranked 75th on the MassDevice Big 100 list of the world’s largest medical device companies.