U.S. District Court Judge Virginia M. Kendell denied a Chicago woman’s medical device liability claim that her left knee injuries were caused by her knee replacement device. The complaint was removed to the federal court from Chicago’s Cook County Circuit Court and contained claims of negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty based on Illinois law.
Judge Kendall granted summary judgment in favor of the the manufacturers, Zimmer Holdings, Inc., Zimmer U.S., Inc., and Zimmer, Inc., in a lawsuit brought by the plaintiff, Joyce Link.
After reviewing the case facts, Judge Kendell held that Ms. Link’s claim against Zimmer for their manufacturing of the Natural Knee II was preempted under the Medical Device Amendments (MDA) to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Per Judge Kendall’s ruling this act “imposed detailed federal oversight onto the introduction of new medical devices onto the introduction of new medical devices onto the market”. Judge Kendall credited her interpretation of Riegel v. Medtronic, 128 S.Ct. 999 (2008), as partial basis for her opinion.
In addition, Judge Kendall cited 21 U.S.C. § 360(c), which states that as part of the oversight states and their subdivisions are barred from implementing their own requirements concerning medical devices, such as the Natural Knee II. The federal act specifically preempts any state requirement regarding a medical device “which is different from, or in addition to” a requirement imposed by the MDA.
In Judge Kendall’s opinion, the state requirement is not preempted unless it also “relates to the safety or effectiveness of the device or to any other matter” covered by the MDA. Kendall held that Ms. Link’s claim was just the kind that Congress intended to preempt under the MDA.