A California federal judge dismissed a suit against Stryker (NYSE:SYK) subsidiary Howmedica Osteonics Corp that claimed the company failed to warn the plaintiff that its CerviCore spinal implant could introduce dangerous metals into her bloodstream.
The case was dismissed as the plaintiff could not provide the dates in which they received the results of a blood-metal test that identified the issue, which could put it out of California’s 2-year statute of limitations, according to court records.
The plaintiff, Colleen Jaeger, was part of a study conducted by Howmedica on the CerviCore implant as the company pursued FDA approval for the device. Howmedica was testing the device as a treatment for herniated disks, but gave up 6 years in, according to court documents.
Jaeger claimed that though Howmedica monitored her blood-metal levels, they withheld results from her and “pressured her” to sign liability waivers after she reported experiencing severe pain and illness that would lead to a device removal in 2012.
Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the asserted claims against Howmedica in connection to the study may be outside the 2 year statute of limitations, based on when Jaeger underwent blood-metal testing that uncovered high levels of chromium in her system.
Howmedica backed this argument and claimed that Jaeger had sued late and attempted to “plead around the 2 year statute.”
“For the foregoing reasons, the court hereby grants Defendant’s motion to dismiss as to all causes of action based on the applicable statute of limitations with leave to amend to plead facts sufficient to permit application of the discovery rule and/or an equitable limitations doctrine,” Judge Gilliam wrote. “For the sake of efficiency, Plaintiffs may also amend their complaint to correct any other deficiencies identified by Defendant in its motion to dismiss. Any amended complaint must be filed within 28 days of the date of this order.”
The plaintiffs will get the chance to amend their complaints and return to court again, according to official court documents.