Medical Manufacturer Sued for Faulty Spinal Disc

An individual sued defendant Zimmer Biomet Spine, Inc. in San Francisco County Superior Court Friday over an alleged misrepresentation of one of their products. The complaint for personal injury included three counts of strict product liability (manufacturing defect, design defect, and failure to warn), along with breach of implied warranty and negligence.

The defendant manufactures an artificial disc called the Mobi-C, which is designed to “articulate between the superior and inferior spinal plates, which allows for multiaxial motion.”

A Mobi-C was placed into the plaintiff’s body in 2017, the complaint said. After the disc insertion, the patient said she was experiencing increasingly severe neck pain that was not resolved by treatment. A CT scan indicated that the patient had developed spondylolisthesis and significant artifact arthropathy where the Mobi-C disc was placed. Doctors recommended a removal of the Mobi-C disc and a permanent fusion operation in its place.

When her surgery was being performed, the surgeon realized that the Mobi-C disc had fractured. Because of the failure of the Mobi-C insert, the plaintiff’s cervical spine had to be fused in certain places which caused her to lose “nearly all mobility” in her neck. Further, the additional surgery and injury the plaintiff sustained as a result of the Mobi-C failure cost several hundred thousand dollars.

The Mobi-C device was thought by the plaintiff to be flawed since it differed from the device that the Food and Drug Administration had approved, which affect the “safety and efficacy of the Device.” The flawed configuration of the Device caused it to break when subjected to a normal spine load.

The plaintiff claims that as a result of the malfunction of the disc, she was subject to lost enjoyment of life, past and future wage loss, chronic pain, sadness, depression and anxiety. There are additional long-term effects that she will face, as the complaint noted that her condition “will continue to deteriorate as time progresses and she will need future surgeries and medical care.” The complaint went on to detail that the patient is “more susceptible to damage to her spinal cord, her esophagus and at constant risk of infection” because of the flawed disc.

The complaint cites strict liability manufacturing defect, design defect, failure to warn, breach of implied warranty, and general negligence. The plaintiff is seeking special and general damages, litigation fees, statutory prejudgement interest, and any other relief deemed proper by the Court

The plaintiff is represented by Synergist Law and Downtown L.A. Law Group. Zimmer Biomet Spine, Inc. is represented by Quarles & Brady, LLP.