United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
ORDER AND OPINION
E. SHADID, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are Defendant Smith & Nephew, Inc.'s
(âSNIâ) Motion (Doc. 5) to Dismiss for Failure to State a
Claim, and Memorandum (Doc. 6) in Support; Plaintiff
Thompson's Response (Doc. 9), and Memorandum in Support
(Doc. 10); and Respondent Mitzelfelt's Motion (Doc. 7) to
Dismiss, and Memorandum (Doc. 8) in Support. For the reasons
set forth below, Defendant SNI's Motion (Doc. 5) is
GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, and Respondent
Mitzelfelt's Motion (Doc. 7) is GRANTED.
Kristi Buff-Thompson filed her Complaint against SNI in state
court on March 21, 2019. See Doc. 1-3. Thereafter,
SNI removed the action to this Court. In her Complaint,
Plaintiff alleges that she underwent hip replacement surgery
on March 6, 2017. Id. at 2. Her surgery was
performed by Donald A. Mitzelfelt, M.D., who used a
“Smith and Nephew System” as part of the hip
replacement procedure. Id. Between March 6 and March
21, 2017, Thompson began having difficulty with her hip and
had increased pain and discomfort at or near the surgery
site. On March 21, 2017, Thompson returned to the hospital
complaining of severe pain and discomfort, and Dr. Mitzelfelt
performed another surgery on Thompson's hip. At this
time, Thompson became aware that SNI's hip replacement
system had “a failed femoral head, polyethylene and
acetabular shell including its locking mechanism requiring
extensive revision.” Id. at 7. Thompson
underwent additional surgeries due to the alleged defect in
SNI's hip replacement system.
of Plaintiff's Complaint asserts a strict products
liability claim against SNI; Count 2 alleges breach of
warranty against SNI; Count 3 asserts a negligence claim
against SNI. Additionally, under Count 4, Plaintiff
designates Donald A. Mitzelfelt, M.D., as a respondent in
discovery pursuant to a state procedural statute.
Id. at 11.
SNI now moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for
failure to state a claim. See Doc. 5 (Motion), Doc.
6 (Memorandum). Additionally, Dr. Mitzelfelt moves for
dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
See Doc. 7 (Motion), Doc. 8 (Memorandum). Plaintiff
filed a Response to SNI's Motion to Dismiss. See
Doc. 9 (Response), Doc. 10 (Memorandum). Plaintiff did not
respond to Dr. Mitzelfelt's Motion.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) challenges
whether a complaint sufficiently states a claim upon which
relief may be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
The Court accepts well-pleaded allegations in a complaint as
true and draws all permissible inferences in favor of the
plaintiff. See Bible v. United Student Aid Funds,
Inc., 799 F.3d 633, 639 (7th Cir. 2015). To survive a
motion to dismiss, the complaint must describe the claim in
sufficient detail to put defendants on notice as to the
nature of the claim and its bases, and it must plausibly
suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief. Bell
Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). A complaint need not allege specific facts, but it
may not rest entirely on conclusory statements or empty
recitations of the elements of the cause of action. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555.
SNI's Motion to Dismiss
first moves for dismissal of Count 1, which asserts a strict
products liability claim against SNI. Doc. 6, at 2-4. In her
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that SNI manufactured, designed,
assembled, distributed, and sold SNI hip replacement systems;
SNI sold and placed its hip replacement system for use in
Thompson's hip replacement surgery; Thompson underwent a
second surgery to replace the “failed femoral head,
polyethylene and acetabular shell including its locking
mechanism, ” and that the SNI hip replacement system
left control of SNI in a condition that was unreasonably
dangerous, defective, and unsafe because of the poor quality
of the components that were likely to fail. Doc. 1-3, at 6-8.
argues that Plaintiff's Complaint does not sufficiently
allege a strict products liability cause of action against it
because Plaintiff fails to allege how the product was
defective in either manufacture or design. Doc. 6, at 2.
Illinois law, it is well-settled that recovery in a strict
product liability action requires a plaintiff plead and prove
that ‘the injury complained of resulted from a
condition of the product, that the condition was unreasonably
dangerous, and that it existed at the time the product left
the manufacturer's control.' ” Smith v.
Phoenix Seating Sys., LLC, 894 F.Supp.2d 1088, 1093
(S.D. Ill. 2012) (quoting Mikolajczyk v. Ford Motor
Co., 231 Ill.2d 516 (2008)). A plaintiff may prove that
a product is unreasonably dangerous by showing ...