Plaintiff Claims Biomet Medical Device Exploded While Implanted in Elbow

On Monday, in the Western District of Arkansas, an individual filed a complaint against medical device company Zimmer Biomet., various subsidiaries, and other unnamed companies, alleging that an elbow device designed, manufactured, and sold by the Biomet defendants exploded while implanted in the plaintiff’s left elbow, causing “catastrophic injuries and damages.”

The plaintiff said he had reconstructive surgery on his left elbow in August 2010, which included an installation of the Biomet Discovery Elbow System. In February 2018, as the plaintiff was trying to get out of bed, he used his left arm to support himself but then “heard a loud bang and felt immediate severe onset of pain” in his left elbow, the complaint said. The plaintiff alleged that the loud bang and subsequent pain came from the breaking of Biomet’s device while inside his elbow.

According to the complaint, the elbow device and its component parts “were in a defective condition and unreasonably dangerous to foreseeable users, including Plaintiff.” The individual alleged that the defendants knew of the defectiveness of its product and the potential danger to its users.

The plaintiff argued that the defendants are liable for all damages suffered: “severe and permanent injuries, scarring and disfigurement, past, present, and future medical expenses, conscious physical and emotional pain, suffering and mental anguish, and other damages in excess of the amount required for federal diversity jurisdiction.”

Monday’s complaint also alleged that the defendants were negligent in their inability to ensure the safety of their product — that they “had a duty to place a reasonably safe medical device in the stream of commerce,” a device that, once it reaches the consumer, should be in the “essentially the same condition” as when it left the manufacturer. Further, the plaintiff alleged gross negligence, arguing that the kind of “malice” and “callous disregard” by the defendants “allows the imposition of exemplary and punitive damages.” According to the complaint, the defendants were aware of the risk of using the medical device “but nevertheless proceeded with conscious indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare to others.”

Other causes of action by the plaintiff against the defendants included breach of implied warranty of merchantability, breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, failure to warn, and causation of life-altering catastrophic injuries and damages to the plaintiff.

The plaintiff requested compensatory and punitive damages, jury trial, and costs for attorneys’ fees.

The plaintiff is represented by Gates Law Firm PLLC.