United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
AUDREY RAYFORD, ET AL.
KARL STORZ ENDOSCOPY-AMERICA, INC., ET AL.
L. HAYES JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY MAG. JUDGE
Audrey and Darryl Rayford (“Plaintiffs”) brought
this lawsuit contending that the use of a laparoscopic power
morcellator during Plaintiff Audrey Rayford's
hysterectomy could have potentially spread cancerous cells in
before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No.
63] filed by Defendants KARL STORZ Endoscopy-America, Inc.,
and KARL STORZ Endovision, Inc. (“Defendants”).
Defendants move the Court to dismiss Plaintiffs'
remaining claims under the LPLA for defect in design,
inadequate warning, and express warranty, and Plaintiffs'
non-LPLA claims for redhibition and loss of consortium. No.
opposition has been filed on behalf of Plaintiffs. For the
following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment is
December 15, 2014, Plaintiff Audrey Rayford underwent
laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery, performed by Dr. Tonya
Sheppard at Monroe Surgical Hospital in Monroe, Louisiana.
Following surgery, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer
(leiomyosarcoma) based on pathological analysis of her
uterine tissue. She has not experienced any spread or
recurrence of cancer during the more than three years since
allege that a KARL STORZ Rotocut G1 electromechanical
morcellator was used during her hysterectomy. Morcellators
are used to reduce the size of tissue within the body in
order to extract the tissue laparoscopically via small
incisions, thereby promoting the benefits of minimal invasive
surgery. Defendants KARL STORZ Endoscopy-America, Inc.,
(“KSEA”) and KARL STORZ Endovision, Inc.,
(“KSE”) contend they did not design or
manufacture the KARL STORZ Rotocut G1 power morecellator.
contend that Defendants failed to warn regarding the
possibility that power morcellation during hysterectomy
surgery could potentially lead to the dissemination of an
undiagnosed cancer and that the KARL STORZ Rotocut G1 was
defective in design. On August 17, 2016, the Court dismissed
Plaintiffs' claim for manufacturing defect and
Plaintiffs' “non-LPLA” claims for strict
liability, breach of express and implied warranty, fraudulent
misrepresentation, and punitive damages.
have now moved for summary judgment as to Plaintiffs'
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), “[a] party may
move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or
defense--or the part of each claim or defense--on which
summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary
judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” The moving party bears
the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for
its motion by identifying portions of the record which
highlight the absence of genuine issues of material fact.
Topalian v. Ehrmann, 954 F.2d 1125, 1132 (5th Cir.
1992); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1) (“A
party asserting that a fact cannot be . . . disputed must
support the assertion by . . . citing to particular parts of
materials in the record . . .). “fact is
Amaterial” if proof of its existence or nonexistence
would affect the outcome of the lawsuit under applicable law
in the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “dispute about a material fact is
Agenuine” if the evidence is such that a reasonable
fact finder could render a verdict for the nonmoving party.
moving party can meet the initial burden, the burden then
shifts to the nonmoving party to establish the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact for trial. Norman v.
Apache Corp., 19 F.3d 1017, 1023 (5th Cir. 1994). In
evaluating the evidence tendered by the parties, the Court
must accept the evidence of the non-movant as credible and
draw all justifiable inferences in its favor. Anderson,
477 U.S. at 255. However, “a party cannot defeat
summary judgment with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated
assertions, or only a scintilla of evidence.”
Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med. Ctr., 476 F.3d 337,
343 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).
products liability actions under Louisiana law, the
“plaintiff bears the burden of proving [the
defendant's] fault, if any, and that the defendant's
product caused her injuries, [and] all essential elements of
her claim against the manufacturer, upon which she bears the
burden of proof at trial.” Hebert, v. Miles
Pharmaceuticals, 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 248, *3-4 (E.D.
La. Jan. 13, 1994); see also Willett v. Baxter Int l,
Inc.,929 F.2d 1094, 1100 (5th Cir. 1991).
Rule 56 requires Plaintiff to come forward with sufficient
evidence at the summary judgment stage to meet her burden of
demonstrating facts to support the essential elements
underlying each individual claim. Id. The moving
party is not required to produce evidence to negate the
existence of material facts when the non-moving party bears
the burden of proof at trial. Broussard v. P&G