U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
A Florida federal court granted summary judgment for Howmedica Osteonics (Stryker) after Shook attorneys argued that the plaintiff had no support for her allegation that a knee implant caused injury. She offered as evidence a doctor who testified that the implant was loose when removed and thus was defective, but the court excluded the testimony as unreliable. The plaintiff further argued that internal documents from Howmedica showed that the company had some concern over loosening implants, but Shook attorneys showed the court that the documents were unauthenticated and thus not evidentiary.
"[The documents] are not even explained or put in context by competent testimony in the form of affidavit, deposition, or otherwise," the court noted. "The Court is therefore unable to ascribe them any significance, or construe them as providing evidentiary support for Witt's claims." The court also pointed to failures of support in the plaintiff's complaint, in which she appears to cite her own complaint as support for an allegation. Without any further support for her allegations, the plaintiff could not prove any defect in the implant, the court said, and accordingly it granted summary judgment in favor of Howmedica.
Shook also represented the company on appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the ruling excluding the unreliable opinion of Witt's expert witness.
Witt v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp., No. 13-20742 (S.D. Fla. 2015).