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3rd Circ. Gives 'Hybrid' Med Devices New Liability Shield

March 6, 2018, Law360

John DeBoy is quoted in a Law360 article regarding a recent Third Circuit ruling that gives medical device makers a legal shield for products composed of parts with various levels of regulatory approval. "[The decision] marks a step forward in clarifying the law on the component question,” says DeBoy. “Some federal district courts have applied an analysis similar to the Third Circuit’s, while others have taken the position that express preemption doesn’t apply in claims arising from the interaction of mixed-class components.” The decision is “substantively” favorable for makers of medical devices, as the holding should prevent plaintiffs from dodging express preemption—when a federal law is written to explicitly preempt state law—in “at least some” cases involving mixed-class components, according to DeBoy. “It will be interesting to see if other circuits follow the Third Circuit’s lead on this issue." DeBoy also cautions that the ruling may not necessarily lead to all cases involving components of mixed classes being dismissed on preemption grounds, noting that the panel explained that alleged warning defects in the non-Class III parts might not implicate express preemption.

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