Rachel Royer appealed from an order of the Superior Court
granting motion to dismiss to Catholic Medical Center.
she underwent knee replacement surgery.
still in pain and the knee became worst.
determined the prosthetic knee was defective.
Ira had to
undergo a second prosthetic knee replacement surgery.
and Wright medical who were companies that designed and
manufactured the defective prosthesis.
against CMC, alleging that CMC was strictly liable to Ira
because it had sold a prosthesis with a design defect that was
in an unreasonably dangerous condition, and liable to Rachel who
suffered a loss of consortium.
inability of one's spouse to have normal marital relations,
which is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.
Motion to dismiss finding CMC was not engaged in the business of
selling prosthetic devices.
sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably
dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject
to [strict] liability for physical harm thereby caused
for the development of strict liability in tort
The lack of
privity between the manufacturer and the buyer,
difficulty of proving negligence against a distant manufacturer
using mass production techniques, and
ability of the mass manufacturer to spread the economic risks
Does not extend strict liability to health care providers
care provider primarily renders a service, and that the
provision of a prosthetic device is merely incidental to that
distinction between selling products and providing services is a
The Df acted
as both a seller of the prosthetic knee and as a provider of the
services in the transaction.
The Df did
profit from the sell of the prosthetic knee and should be
treated no different than any other distributor of a defect
the knee and the surgeon provided the service.
is not whether is sold or transferred the prosthetic
knee, but whether the Df is engaged in the business of selling
We do not
agree with the legal fiction argument.
of the transaction between the retail seller and the consumer
relates to the article sold.
does not enter a hospital to purchase a prosthesis, but to
obtain a course of treatment in the hope of being cured of what
of the prosthesis is treated as an ancillary [secondary]
relationship which the court declines to ignore.
were on the bill: Hospital room, operating room services,
physical therapy, a recovery room, pathology laboratory work, an
EKG or ECG, X rays, and anesthesia.
health care provider strictly liable would likely result in
higher health care costs borne ultimately by all patients.
unrealistic burden on the physicians and hospitals of this state
to test or guarantee the tens of thousands of products used in
hospitals by doctors
care provider in the course of rendering health care services
supplies a prosthetic device to be implanted into a patient, the
health care provider is not "engaged in the business of selling"
prostheses for purposes of strict products liability