When filing a lawsuit against an individual or a corporate entity for negligence, it is important to allege the correct claims against the right defendants – as many individuals pursuing a Granuflo lawsuit in Colorado recently discovered.
In April, the Honorable Judge R. Brooke Jackson of the U.S. District Court in that state dismissed a number of cases involving Naturalyte and Granuflo-related deaths. Both products are manufactured by German pharmaceutical firm Fresenius, and are used in dialysis treatments. These dialysis drugs, used to balance blood pH levels during treatment, have been implicated in the deaths of hundreds of dialysis patients, alleged to cause cardiac arrest. Judge Jackson’s ruling comes at a time when Granuflo lawsuit filings are up and more cases are going forward against the manufacturer.
The problem, according to Judge Jackson, is that the Colorado plaintiffs filed their complaints against DaVita Healthcare. His reason for dismissing the cases against the defendant: DaVita Heathcare Partners, which operates dialysis centers around the country, was not the manufacturer of the drug allegedly responsible for the patients’ deaths. Because of this, DaVita cannot be held liable for failure to warn or breach of warranty. Judge Jackson did, however, leave the door open for a plaintiff to file a Granuflo lawsuit against DaVita on other grounds, including provisions of Colorado’s Consumer Protection Act by which a company’s alleged failure to warn is irrelevant.
This issue has come up in the past. There has been evidence in other Granuflo cases indicating that drugmaker Fresenius did in fact know about the dangers of its product, yet did not divulge this information to the clinics using Granuflo. In fact, while DaVita Healthcare Partners does use Fresenius products, it is at the same time competing with Fresenius’ own clinics. DaVita was sued by Fresenius in Illinois over the locations of its clinics – which were too close to the company’s own clinics for its liking.
On the surface, it would seem that Fresenius had little reason to warn its competitors about anything. While DaVita may not have been privy to information about the potentially deadly side effects of Granuflo, Judge Jackson ruled that the treatment center did have a duty to advise patients about changes in their blood pH levels, for which the drug is used.
Tort law in cases such as these vary from one state to another, but generally, a service provider cannot be held liable if a product manufactured by a third party fails to function properly and causes someone harm unless it can be proven that said service provider was aware of the risks and dangers of those products or tools. In such a case, it is necessary for the plaintiff to bring action against the manufacturer of the product itself.