CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE.
August 16, 2011—A 7-person federal jury in Billings, Montana, returned a unanimous defense verdict for orthopaedic medical device manufacturer Breg, Inc., in a case brought by orthopaedic surgeon Stuart Davis, M.D., and his wife, seeking more than $6 million allegedly resulting from injury to his shoulder following his use of a Breg pain pump. The jury deliberated for nearly eight hours following a 6-day trial before returning its verdict. This was the first pain pump case against Breg to proceed to trial.
The plaintiffs claimed that Dr. Davis' use of a Breg pump for the continuous infusion of local anesthetic into his shoulder joint following arthroscopic surgery caused him to develop post-arthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis, or PAGCL, a disorder marked by the rapid deterioration of the cartilage of the shoulder joint. Breg denied the plaintiffs' claims. The jury found Breg not liable because the pump and its warnings conformed to the state of the art.
The evidence included testimony from authors of some of the first scientific studies on PAGCL, Charles Beck, M.D., for the plaintiffs and Damon Petty, M.D., for Breg. Dr. Petty published the first scientific article on PAGCL in 2004, concluding that the cause of the disorder is unknown. Three years later, Dr. Beck published the first scientific article purporting to find an association between the continuous infusion of local anesthetics by high flow high volume pain pumps and the development of PAGCL.
The plaintiffs claimed that Dr. Davis' shoulder injury, which necessitated a total shoulder replacement, prevented him from continuing on in his career as an orthopaedic surgeon and forced him to pursue instead a residency and lower-paying employment in anesthesiology.
Plaintiffs were represented by David Charles and Daniela Olschlager of Crowley Fleck, PLLP, in Billings, MT.
Breg was represented by Kim Schmid, Breg's National Coordinating Counsel for Pain Pump Litigation, and Jerry Murphy and Emily Jones of Moulton Bellingham, PC, in Billings, MT.
The case is Stuart A. Davis and Carmelle C. Davis v. Breg, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Montana, Billings Division
U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Keith Strong