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Analysis of a recent case in which a company, publicly accused by a plaintiff's lawyers of using non-FDA-approved medical devices, fought back by bringing a defamation suit against the opposing attorneys. The decision in the appeal offers some insights into what kinds of allegations may be publicized, and in what circumstances, when a product liability charge is brought.
Product liability law practice can get prickly, and why not? The stakes are high. Consumer injuries (or the potential threat of them) and the bad press that may follow can lead to lost business and even bankruptcy, and individuals’ careers and reputations can be ruined. It is no wonder, then, that those who find themselves on the receiving end of a product liability lawsuit and its attendant bad publicity sometimes fight back. So it was in a recent case in which a company, publicly accused by a plaintiff’s lawyers of using non-FDA-approved medical devices, fought back by bringing a defamation suit against the opposing attorneys. The case was thrown out by a California court, and the plaintiff appealed. The decision in the appeal, Healthsmart Pacific Inc. v. (Brian S.) Kabateck, 17 C.D.O.C 244 (C.A. 2d 12/19/16) (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. Case No. B264300), offers some insights into what kinds of allegations may be publicized, and in what circumstances, when a product liability charge is brought.
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By Janice G. Inman
In a drug or medical device injury case, one of the defense’s most potent arguments is often that the product in question underwent FDA approval, so the balance of its safety and efficacy has already been determined. But when a device is approved for sale to the public through the FDA’s 510(k) process, the rigorous safety and efficacy analysis required of new and unique medical devices has not been undertaken.
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