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Medical Devices

Medical Device Liability in Louisiana - Grenier v. Medical Engineering Corp., 243 F.3d 200 (Cir5 2001)

This is the appeal of a summary judgment against plaintiff in a case alleging that she was injured by a silicone breast implant.  Procedurally, the case does not raise important issues, beyond the clear finding that medical device cases are governed by Louisiana's product liability statute.  Plaintiff tried to represent herself after losing her council and she failed to present evidence to support her pleadings.  The case is interesting in that it discusses the unique Louisiana action of redhibition, which is a consumer protection cause of action:

"Redhibition is the avoidance of a sale on account of some vice or defect in the thing sold, which renders it either absolutely useless, or its use so inconvenient and imperfect, that it must be supposed that the buyer would not have purchased it, had he known of the vice.' LSA-C.C. art. 2520

The court found that redhibition would apply in this case, but did not discuss the potential remedy.  From previous case law, it would seem that the remedy would be a refund or discount of the purchase price of the implant, and perhaps the cost of medical services involved in installing it, but there is no indication whether subsequent tort damages could also be recovered.  Redhibition is an interesting variant on products liability because it does not require that the plaintiff prove a specific defect, only that something was wrong that made the produce substantially below consumer expectations.

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