United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
LESLIE B. MONDUL, Plaintiff,
BIOMET, INC., ET AL., Defendants.
Lynn Tate, Tate Law PC, Abingdon, Virginia, for Plaintiff;
J. Carr, IV, Troutman Sanders LLP, Richmond, Virginia, and
Matthew T. Albaugh and Erica K. Drew, Faegre Baker Daniels
LLP, Indianapolis, Indiana, for Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones United States District Judge
diversity action, plaintiff Leslie B. Mondul brings claims of
negligence, gross negligence, and breach of express and
implied warranty arising out of a hip replacement surgery in
which an allegedly defective device designed, manufactured,
marketed, and sold by the defendants was implanted in her
hip. Among other things, she seeks $20 million in punitive
damages. One of the defendants, Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc.,
has moved to dismiss the Complaint against it for lack of
personal jurisdiction. All of the defendants have moved to
dismiss or strike the claim for punitive damages. For the
reasons that follow, I will grant both motions.
relevant facts are contained in the Complaint and in the
defendants' motions and accompanying briefs and exhibits.
about January 11, 2010, in Johnston Memorial Hospital in
Abingdon, Virginia, plaintiff Leslie B. Mondul underwent a
right total hip replacement surgery in which a M2A Magnum
metal-on-metal implant was placed in her right hip joint.
Mondul alleges that the implant was defectively designed and
manufactured, and as a result, it caused her severe pain,
cardiac damage, tissue damage, bone damage, pseudo tumors,
and carbon and chromium intoxication, among other things. On
March 16, 2017, Mondul underwent surgery to remove the M2A
Magnum implant and replace it with a different device.
alleges that until June 2015, the M2A Magnum implant was
designed, manufactured, marketed, and sold by defendant
Biomet, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries, Biomet
Orthopedics, LLC; Biomet U.S. Reconstruction, LLC; and Biomet
Manufacturing Corp. She alleges that in June 2015, Zimmer
Biomet Holdings, Inc. (“Zimmer”) purchased
Biomet, Inc. “and/or” merged Biomet, Inc. with
Zimmer Inc. Compl. 3, ECF No. 1. She alleges that after June
2015, Zimmer directed and controlled all activities relating
to the M2A Magnum implant.
Complaint, Mondul brings claims of negligence, gross
negligence, and breach of express and implied warranty. Among
other things, she seeks $20 million in punitive damages.
Zimmer, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of
business in Indiana, has moved to dismiss the Complaint
against it for lack of personal jurisdiction. All of the
defendants have moved to dismiss the claim for punitive
damages, or in the alternative, to strike the claim to the
extent it exceeds Virginia's statutory cap on punitive
damages. The motions are ripe for decision.
order for a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant, two requirements must be met.
Owens-Illinois, Inc., v. Rapid Am. Corp. (In re
Celotex Corp.), 124 F.3d 619, 627 (4th Cir. 1997).
First, a statute must authorize service of process on the
non-resident defendant. Id. Second, the service of
process must comport with the Due Process Clause.
Id. Where the state statute authorizing service of
process is coextensive with the Due Process Clause, the two
requirements merge, and the proper inquiry is whether
exercising personal jurisdiction comports with the Due
Process Clause. Id. at 627-28. Virginia's
long-arm statute providing for service of process extends
personal jurisdiction to the extent permitted by the Due
Process Clause. Young v. New Haven Advocate, 315
F.3d 256, 261 (4th Cir. 2002). Thus, the proper inquiry here
is whether exercising personal jurisdiction over Zimmer
comports with the Due Process Clause.
court's exercise of jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant comports with due process if the defendant has
‘minimum contacts' with the forum, such that to
require the defendant to defend its interests in that state
‘does not offend traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice.'” Carefirst of Md., Inc.
v. Carefirst Pregnancy Ctrs., Inc., 334 F.3d 390, 397
(4th Cir. 2003) (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). The standard for
determining whether this requirement is met depends on
whether the plaintiff seeks to establish specific or general
personal jurisdiction. See id.
jurisdiction exists where the defendant's contacts with
the forum state provide the basis for the suit. Id.
To determine if specific jurisdiction exists, courts consider
“(1) the extent to which the defendant purposefully
availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities in
the State; (2) whether the plaintiffs' claims arise out
of those activities directed at the State; and (3) whether
the exercise of personal jurisdiction would be