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Not So Fast – Jury Told To Think On It Some More

A rare turn of events was seen in Christiansen v. Wright Medical Technology, Inc where a products liability suit was filed against the defendant manufacturer, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant, and the judge ordered the jury to continue deliberations to the point that the jury reversed course and found for the plaintiff.

Wright Medical Technology Inc., a designer and manufacturer of orthopedic implants and instruments, was sued by Robyn Christiansen who alleged that Wright Medical was liable for design defect based on strict liability and negligence and asserted claims of fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and fraudulent concealment. The claims centered around Wright Medical’s metal-on-metal hip replacement device. Christiansen claimed that meal debris from the device caused her impairment and pain once the debris came loose within her body.

Ten days after the initial trial began, the jury notified the court that it had reached a verdict. The judge then reviewed the verdict and found that the jury did not find that Wright Medical’s hip replacement device was defectively designed. However, the jury did award compensatory and punitive damages after finding Wright Medical liable for negligent misrepresentation. The judge, however, stopped the jury from reading the verdict sheet after failing to find that a design defect existed in Wright Medical’s hip replacement device and ordered the jury to further deliberate. After returning from deliberation, the jury found that the hip replacement device was defectively designed. Wright Medical appealed.

On appeal, Wright Medical argued that the lower court erred in failing to accept the jury’s original verdict. More specifically, Wright Medical claimed that the lower court should have ordered a new trial. The appeals court ruled that the lower court had the discretion to direct the jury to further consider its answers and the verdict, or to order a new trial. While the jury first found that a design defect did not exist but that there was evidence of misrepresentation, the appeals court felt that the verdicts were inconsistent. As a result, the lower court did not err and the ruling was affirmed.

Medical malpractice can have devastating effects that last a lifetime. If you have been injured by a physician’s neglect, attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian will work to get you the full compensation to which you are entitled. Call 800-529-6162 today or contact them online for a free case evaluation. They handle cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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