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Schmidt v. C.R. Bard, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division

October 14, 2014

RICHARD SCHMIDT, Plaintiff,
v.
C.R. BARD, INC. and DAVOL, INC., Defendants.

ORDER

B. AVANT EDENFIELD, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

C.R. Bard, Inc. and Davol, Inc. ("Defendants") have moved to dismiss Plaintiff Richard Schmidt's Complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). ECF No. 13 at 1. In the alternative, Defendants have moved to strike Plaintiffs request for punitive damages. Id.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Defendants' motion to dismiss and Defendants' motion to strike Plaintiffs prayer for punitive damages.

II. BACKGROUND

On July 12, 2005, Plaintiff underwent a hernia repair surgery in Michigan during which his surgeon implanted him with a Bard Mesh PerFix™ Plug ("Plug"), a product that Defendants designed, manufactured, and sold. ECF No. 1 at 2. Subsequently, Plaintiff suffered severe pain and permanent bodily injuries. Id. at 3. As a result of these injuries, on September 14, 2011, Plaintiff had to have the Plug surgically removed at Georgia Regional Medical Center in Bulloch County, Georgia. Id. Plaintiff alleges that his injuries were the result of the Plug's defective design. Id. In support of this allegation, Plaintiff has listed at least nine alleged defects in the Plug's design. Id. at 3-4. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were aware of these defects, failed to warn Plaintiffs physicians of the risks associated with the defects, and even represented that the Plug was safe in order to sell their product. Id. at 4-5.

On June 13, 2014, based on these factual allegations, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this case advancing claims of negligence, strict liability defective design, failure to warn, and breach of warranty. Id at 7-13. Plaintiffs Complaint also seeks punitive damages. Id. at 14. Plaintiff has since abandoned his breach of warranty claim. ECF No. 11 at 9.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

In considering a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion, all facts in the plaintiffs complaint "are to be accepted as true and the court limits its consideration to the pleadings and exhibits attached thereto." GSW, Inc. v. Long Cnty., 999 F.2d 1508, 1510 (11th Cir. 1993). The Court, however, is not limited to the four corners of the pleadings, rather a proper review of a motion to dismiss "requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." See Ashcroft v. lqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

A complaint will not be dismissed so long as it contains factual allegations sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (claim must have "facial plausibility"); Edwards v. Prime, Inc., 602 F.3d 1276, 1291 (11th Cir. 2010). Yet, "a plaintiffs obligation to provide grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (alteration in original).

In Iqbal, the Court further explained the required level of specificity:

A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.

556 U.S. at 678 (internal citation and quotation omitted).

In order to assess the plausibility of a complaint, a court must be mindful of two principles. "First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Id. "Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." Id . at 679. Thus, Iqbal suggests a "two-pronged approach" to assessing a defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion: "1) eliminate any allegations in the complaint that are merely legal conclusions; and 2) where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.'" Am. Dental Ass'n v. Cigna Corp., 605 F.3d 1283, 1290 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679)). Importantly, however, the "plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement' at the pleading stage." Id. at 1289. Instead, it simply calls for ...


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