Summary Judgment Obtained on Behalf of Manufacturer of Cardiac Support Device Used by First Responders

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Attorneys for Cipriani & Werner, Ernest Koschineg and David Volk, recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of the manufacturer of a cardiac support device used by emergency service providers to victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

The plaintiff’s estate filed a wrongful death action after the plaintiff suffered cardiac arrest while performing manual labor outside of his home. A neighbor found the plaintiff lying on the ground. The plaintiff was not breathing and did not have a pulse.

The local EMS service arrived with the device in question. The plaintiff’s estate alleged the device briefly stopped while performing manual chest compressions and, therefore, ultimately contributed to the death of the plaintiff.

After discovery closed, a Motion for Summary Judgment was filed as to all legal theories brought by the plaintiff, including negligence, strict liability based upon defective design, and strict liability based upon manufacturing defect.

As to the plaintiff’s negligence claim, it was successfully argued there was no evidence of record that the device manufacturer breached its duty of care in the design, manufacture, and sale of the device in question. As to the plaintiff’s design defect claim, it was maintained that the plaintiff’s expert failed to submit a reasonable alternative design for the device itself, as is required by Pennsylvania law. Lastly, as to the plaintiff’s manufacturing defect claim, it was argued that the plaintiff’s claim failed as a matter of law because the record was replete with reasonable alternative causes for the brief stoppage of the device in question, including the size of the patient, potential user error, and incorrect placement of the patient as he was being transported into the ambulance.

Following oral argument, the court entered summary judgment as to all causes of action. No appeal was filed and the case was dismissed with prejudice.

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