The estate of one West Virginia woman is suing the medical company Fresenius Medical Care, claiming that a product used in its dialysis treatment caused her death. Ms. Pauley went to the Fresenius Medical Care facility in Dunbar for dialysis treatment, and used a dry acid product known as a GranuFlo. Two days later, she suffered a heart attack and died.
The executor of Pauley’s estate argued that the GranuFlo was “dangerous and defective” at the time Pauley used it, and the danger to consumers was foreseeable during ordinary use of the product. The lawsuit also alleges that six months after Pauley died, Fresenius sent out an internal memo warning physicians and medical directors of the risks associated with both GranuFlo and another dry acid concentrate, NaturaLyte. However, Fresenius allegedly failed to warn the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the product’s defects. In March of last year, the FDA reported Fresenius’s voluntary Class 1 recall of both GranuFlo and NaturaLyte products. The lawsuit claims that had Pauley and others been aware of GranuFlo’s defective nature, they never would have agreed to use it for their dialysis.
At present, another lawsuit over GranuFlo is being conducted in federal court in Massachusetts. Since the Pauley case was just removed to federal court from state court, it might end up joining with the lawsuit in Massachusetts. Fresenius had moved for the case to be removed from state court, claiming that one defendant was added because she lived in the state in order to prevent the case from being removed. However, that person was not actually involved with the Fresenius clinic.
It is always a painful thing when a loved one dies, especially when he or she dies from a preventable accident. That is why, under such circumstances, the deceased person’s survivors will hire a West Virginia wrongful death attorney and file a lawsuit against the perceived offender. In this case, the type of lawsuit filed was a product liability lawsuit. While usually in a tort lawsuit, the injured party must show that the other party behaved unreasonably, in a product liability suit, you only need to show that the other party was strictly liable. Under strict product liability, the other party is liable if (1) the product came off of the assembly line defective and unreasonably dangerous; (2) the product was designed to be unreasonably dangerous; and/or (3) the product had a warning label that failed to properly point out the dangers.
In the above case, it sounds as though product design was the potential cause of Pauley’s death and the deaths of other users. If your loved one is injured or killed by a product, you might argue that the product was unreasonably dangerous; that as a result of the product being unreasonably dangerous, your loved one was injured; and damages or death were the result of the injury. Injured parties in this situation usually seek “damages,” a money award, for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, loss of use, and more.