Retrial Ordered in PainBuster Product Liability

An Oregon woman has won a new trial on her claim that she suffered serious injuries to her shoulder from the PainBuster infusion pump designed to deliver pain medication continuously.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday remanded for a new trial the negligence and product liability claims of Christina McClellan, who alleged she suffered injuries from the painkiller pump that was prescribed after two surgeries to repair her shoulder joint.

After the surgery McCLellan suffered a loss of cartilage in her shoulder joint that allowed the ball and socket of the shoulder to fuse and grow together as a single bone.  This prevented her from being able to move her shoulder.  The condition is not treatable.

She blamed I-Flow Corp., maker of the PainBuster pump for allegedly failing to warn that the pump might damage the joint.

Prior to the trial, the lower court failed to give certain jury instructions that McClellan requested, saying they were preempted by federal law.

I-Flow prevailed and McClellan appealed.  They held her claims were not preempted by federal law and that the requested jury instructions did not conflict with the Medical Device Amendment of 1976 to the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act.

Case:  McClellan v. I-Flow Corp., No. 11-35109


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