Pennsylvania Record

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Superior Court revives Mississippi woman's Philadelphia lawsuit

State Court

By Karen Kidd | Nov 6, 2019


HARRISBURG — A Mississippi woman's product liability case against a Bethlehem-based medical device maker is on its way back to a Philadelphia court after a state intermediate appellate court ruled it should not have been dismissed.

In an eight-page memorandum issued Oct. 17, a Superior Court of Pennsylvania three-judge panel reversed dismissal of Vickie L. Jeans' lawsuit against B. Braun Medical, its French subsidiaries and other related companies. In its memorandum, the Superior Court panel said it based its decision on a "materially identical" case, McConnell v. Braun Medical, that the court decided the previous day.

"We concluded in McConnell that the plaintiff's case could be heard in Pennsylvania and that the trial court improperly dismissed the case based on forum non conveniens," the court's memorandum said. "For nearly identical reasons to those outlined in McConnell, the order of dismissal in the present case must be reversed."

In sending the Jeans case back to Philadelphia Court of Commons Pleas, the Superior Court panel also ruled that B. Braun Medical's pending motion to transfer the case to Lehigh County may be considered by Philadelphia court.

Superior Court Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote the memorandum in which Judge Eugene B. Strassburger and Judge Mary P. Murray concurred. Pellegrini and Strassburger are retired Superior Court senior judges appointed to hear this case.

Jeans appealed to the Superior Court after the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas dismissed her case on the grounds of forum non conveniens, or that Jeans had filed in the wrong court. In her appeal, Jeans argued B. Braun Medical failed to show that Pennsylvania is an inconvenient forum for her claims.

Jeans' case against B. Braun Medical stems from a 2009 heart implant of a VenaTech LP Vena Cava Filter while she was living in Mississippi. The procedure was performed in Tennessee.

In 2015, while undergoing another medical procedure, Jeans discovered the implant had allegedly malfunctioned and she subsequently sued for damages.

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