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“Multiple Defendants in Product Liability Cases: Pleading a Sufficient Claim,” IDC Quarterly

Third Quarter 2016
Ryan M. Frierott

“Product liability cases involving multiple defendants require special attention when only one of the defendants is responsible for the injury or damages alleged,” writes Ryan M. Frierott, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Product Liability Practice Group.

In this article co-authored by Ryan, the authors examine a recent product liability case, Weddle v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., and its implications for future claims.

The plaintiff in the case had undergone ankle surgery that involved the insertion of a medical device, manufactured by one of the defendants. The device was inserted with tools made by a different party, and with screws manufactured by a third company.  When one or more of the components in the plaintiff’s ankle failed, she filed suit against all three manufacturers.

“The court reasoned that the plaintiff failed to articulate a breach because it never identified which defendants’ component failed,” Ryan writes. “In summary, attorneys in product liability claims involving multiple defendants must identify the specific allegations levied at their client.”