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Date: 04-13-2023

Case Style:

Charlotte Mobler and Thomas Mobler v. Stryker Corporation

Case Number: 1:22-CV-1106

Judge: Charles Esque Fleming

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (Cuyahoga County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

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Defendant's Attorney: Madeline Dennis, Paul Edward Asfendis, Tariq M. Naeem

Description: Cleveland, Ohio personal injury lawyers represented Plaintiff who sued Defendants on product liability theories.

This case was filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, CV-21-952356, and was removed to federal court by Defendants.

Plaintiffs filed suit in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas against Defendant Stryker Corporation (“Stryker”) on August 27, 2021. Plaintiffs joined HOC (referred to collectively with Stryker as “Defendants”) on May 13, 2022.

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants manufactured certain “defective spinal fusion hardware” (the “Device”), which was implanted into Ms. Mohler and left her “permanently disabled.” Ms. Mohler's surgeon later replaced the Device during a necessary revision procedure. Plaintiffs' claims against Defendants include negligence, breach of implied warranties, manufacturer and product strict liability, violations of Ohio consumer protection law, and fraud.

Plaintiffs are Michigan citizens, and Stryker is also a Michigan citizen for jurisdictional purposes . Despite this commonality of citizenship, Defendants removed this case to federal court on June 22, 2023, asserting diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332. Defendants ask this Court to rely solely on HOC's New Jersey citizenship, alleging that Plaintiffs have no colorable cause of action against Stryker; instead, Plaintiffs named Stryker solely to avoid this Court's diversity jurisdiction. The “amount in controversy” requirement in 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 is not at issue. .

Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand argues that Stryker is an appropriately named defendant because: (1) Ms. Mohler's medical records identify the Device as a “Stryker implant” ; (2) Ms. Mohler's surgeon told her that Stryker manufactured the Device; and (3) Stryker itself took responsibility for manufacturing the Device in correspondence with Plaintiffs' counsel, and did not identify another entity as being responsible for the Device's manufacture pre-suit.

Defendant HOC opposes the Motion and argues that there is no basis for claims against Stryker, since: (1) Stryker neither manufactures nor sells the Device; (2) HOC is Stryker's wholly-owned subsidiary (id.); and (3) Plaintiffs misattribute references to “Stryker” to Stryker Corporation instead of “Stryker Spine,” an “unincorporated division” of HOC. Plaintiffs' Reply Brief asserts that, even if HOC is the actual manufacturer of the Device, Stryker may nonetheless be held liable for Ms. Mohler's injuries under the apparent manufacturer doctrine.

Outcome: For the foregoing reasons, this Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Remand. This matter is hereby REMANDED to state court.

04/17/2023 16 Order denying Plaintiffs' Motion for costs (Related Doc # 13 ). Judge Charles Esque Fleming on 4/17/2023. (S,SR) (Entered: 04/17/2023)

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