Coloplast files petition to transfer defective penile implant products liability case to federal court

By Jon Campisi | Jul 8, 2013

Medical device manufacturer Coloplast Corporation has filed a petition to transfer a

products liability case initiated by a Philadelphia man who claims he sustained injuries due to a defective penile implant device to U.S. District Court.

The complaint, originally filed in late May at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of John Starks, contends that the defendant placed into the stream of commerce a defective and malfunctioning Coloplast Titan OTR Inflatable Penile Implant.

Starks, who is being represented by Philadelphia lawyer Jerry Lyons, of Joseph Chaiken & Associates, claims in the litigation that the device he had surgically implanted into his body on March 15, 2010, eventually stopped working, became defective, malfunctioned, failed, leaked and otherwise would not operate properly.

The malfunction caused the plaintiff to have to undergo a second surgery on March 20 of last year to remove the defective product and have another penile device implanted in its place.

Starks alleges the ordeal caused him to sustain additional scar tissue, pain and suffering, additional medical costs, impairments of bodily functions, loss of life’s pleasures including the ability to engage in sexual activity, embarrassment and humiliation, and post-surgical pain.

The suit contains counts of negligence, strict products liability, breach of contract and breach of warranties.

Starks seeks more than $75,000 in damages, plus interest and costs.

In the petition to transfer the case out of Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court, Coloplast’s lawyer, Joseph N. Bongiovanni, IV, of the Philadelphia firm Marks, O’Neill, O’Brien, Doherty & Kelly, wrote that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is the appropriate venue in which the litigation should play out because the amount of monetary damages sought by Starks would automatically trigger federal court jurisdiction.

In Pennsylvania, $50,000 is the jurisdictional limit at the state trial court level.

The defense lawyer also points out that Coloplast does not do business in Pennsylvania, but rather is headquartered in the State of Minnesota.

U.S. District Court, Bongiovanni wrote, should have original jurisdiction over the Starks case due to the fact that there is diversity in citizenship between the parties.

The defense has already provided written notice to plaintiff’s counsel of the removal petition, the filing states.

According to its website, Coloplast is a global business that develops and manufactures products relating to ostomy care, surgical urology, continence care, and wound and skin care.

The company employs more than 7,000 people worldwide, according to the site.

The federal case number is 2:13-cv-03872-MAM.

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