The 9th Circuit recently revived a lawsuit ( brought by several elderly Mexicans who allege they lost their eyes or were blinded by a California companys tainted surgical materials.
According to Courthouse News Service, while determining that a federal judge in Santa Ana, Calif., had properly dismissed the complaint and sent it to Mexico, the subsequent refusal of the Mexican courts to accept the case would "leave their horrific injuries wholly underdressed," the federal appeals panel in San Francisco ruled. (WCxKit)
Eight elderly residents of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico claim they lost one of their eyes or were blinded in one eye after obtaining cataract surgery from a well-qualified Mexican surgeon. They allege that they contracted bacterial endophthalmitis from a defective product manufactured by defendant Advanced Medical Optics.
The suit claims surgeons use of Healon Viscoelastic product caused the plaintiffs eyes to run with puss and led them to fevers, nausea and vomiting. Three of the plaintiffs had to have an infected eye removed, while five others became blind in the infected eye.
"After the plaintiffs surgical complications occurred, unopened batches of defendants Healon product were tested and found to be infected with a virulent strain of bacteria that causes endophthalmitis," the ruling stated.
The plaintiffs sued Advanced Medical Optics in California, where the business is based. The company successfully petitioned to have the case thrown out after arguing that the Mexican courts were a more convenient forum.
While appealing the District Courts dismissal, the plaintiffs also filed their complaint in Mexico. The Mexican courts refused to take on jurisdiction.
In ruling on the plaintiffs appeal of the dismissal recently, the three-judge appeals panel stated that the District Court had every right to move the case to Mexico. The panel refused to leave the case there, however, stating that doing so would leave the plaintiffs without a court to make their plea. (WCxKit)
The panel claimed it was "persuaded by the reasoning of [its] sister circuits, and join[ed] them in holding that when intervening developments in a foreign jurisdiction, subsequent to a District Courts initial [forum] ruling, could leave plaintiffs without an available forum in which to bring their claims, it is appropriate to remand the matter back to the District Court so it can reconsider its decision based upon updated information," the ruling notes.
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