Luff Law Firm Wins Significant Appellate Victory

06 Jul Luff Law Firm Wins Significant Appellate Victory

The Luff Law Firm is pleased to report it has won a significant victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Last week, the 11th Circuit handed down its opinion in Joseph Mink v. Smith & Nephew, Inc.

Smith & Nephew recalled their Birmingham Hip Replacement system, a metal-on-metal hip implant, in 2012, but not before they had tricked Joe Mink into using their implant with promises of years of free follow-up care. Smith & Nephew’s hip implant leeched dangerous amounts of heavy metals into Joe’s blood.

Not only did this make Joe sick, but then Smith & Nephew went back on their promise of follow-up care.

When Joe filed a lawsuit for his injuries and Smith & Nephew’s deceptions, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed Joe’s claims, holding that they were preempted by federal law. The Luff Law Firm was brought in after the district court dismissed Joe’s claims.

Facing some of the toughest preemption law in the country, the Luff Law Firm was able to achieve a reversal of much of the district court’s opinion.

This opinion also has larger implications for medical device cases in the 11th Circuit, comprising the federal courts of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

Perhaps most importantly, the opinion confirms that Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee, 531 U.S. 341 (2001), which medical device companies invariably argue said that any claims related to a violation of FDA requirements are preempted (in other words, all of them), actually means nothing more than that FDA regulations do not create a private right of action.

This conclusion clearly follows from a later Supreme Court case, Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc., 552 U.S. 312 (2008), but because of the complexity of federal preemption law, some courts still mistakenly read Buckman much more broadly. With this opinion, the 11th Circuit joins the majority of the country in correctly applying Supreme Court precedent on medical device preemption.