Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in an Indiana product liability case dismissing a plaintiff’s case for failing to file the required expert’s affidavit. The case is important for all Indiana product liability plaintiffs, because it explains when an expert witness may be required and also illustrates the potential consequences of not complying with the procedural requirements of the Indiana Product Liability Act (IPLA).
The Facts of the Case
In 2007, the plaintiff had her doctor implant an Intrauterine Device (IUD) in her uterus. The IUD, which was manufactured by the defendant, is a form of long-term birth control.
A few years later in 2013, the plaintiff asked her doctor to remove the IUD. When the doctor attempted to remove the IUD, however, only part of the device came out, leaving the rest of the device in the plaintiff’s uterus. The doctor advised the plaintiff that to remove the remaining portion of the IUD, the plaintiff would need a total hysterectomy.
The plaintiff filed a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the IUD. The plaintiff had until November 18, 2013 to file an expert report under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2). As soon as that date came and passed, the manufacturer filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s case based on her failure to comply with the requirements.
Expert Reports in Indiana Product Liability Cases
The expert report requirement is meant to help explain complex issues to the jury. Thus, under the Indiana Product Liability Act, an expert report is necessary when the issues involved are “not within the understanding of a lay person.”
The Plaintiff’s Argument
The plaintiff argued that the issue in her case was so straightforward that no expert was needed. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that a lay person was able to understand that the IUD device broke due to some manufacturing error. However, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument and dismissed her case.
The court explained that the plaintiff’s explanation of the issue involved was overly simplistic. The issue at hand, according to the court, was how the IUD device broke and why. The court noted that a lay person would not likely understand the plaintiff’s theory of causation, and thus held that she should have filed an expert report to establish causation.
Have You been Injured Due to a Dangerous Product?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured by a dangerous product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through an Indiana product liability lawsuit. The dedicated Indiana personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have extensive experience handling all types of Indiana personal injury cases, including product liability lawsuits. To learn more, call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a dedicated Indiana product liability attorney. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
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