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Schmiedebusch v. Mallinckrodt, Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division

September 13, 2011, Filed

Case No. 3:10 CV 2024




Plaintiff Steven Schmiedebusch brings this action against Defendants Mallinckrodt, Inc. and John Doe Company after receiving allegedly defective methadone pills manufactured by Defendants. Before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiff originally filed this action in the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas. Defendants removed the case to this Court. The case was referred to the undersigned for pretrial supervision and the filing of a Report and Recommendation. (Doc. 7). The District Court has jurisdiction over this case under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Defendant Mallinckrodt filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 14). Plaintiff filed an Opposition (Doc. 18), and Defendant filed a Reply (Doc. 20). For the reasons stated below, the undersigned recommends Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be  [*2] granted.


Viewing the facts in a light most favorable to Plaintiff, the background to this case is as follows. Plaintiff, Steven Schmiedebusch, suffered a neck injury while working a manual labor job at LG Philips on July 25, 2002. (Doc. 14-2, at 10-11). An MRI showed Plaintiff had a sprained left shoulder and herniated disk on the C5, C6, and C7 vertebrae. (Doc. 14-2, at 14). This injury caused pain to the whole upper left side of Plaintiff's body, which took the form of a dull, aching, "stabbing numbness" that "burns like no end" sometimes. (Doc. 14-2, at 17). The pain still persists on a daily basis. (Doc. 14-2, at 17). At least three of Plaintiff's doctors, Drs. Sigler, Biery, and Ogle, prescribed methadone pills to help alleviate his pain. (Doc. 14-2, at 16). Though Plaintiff has taken several different kinds of pain medication since his 2002 injury, methadone has proven to be the most effective pain reliever he has tried. (Doc. 14-2, at 19, 78). Plaintiff has been taking six or seven methadone pills a day consistently for about five years. (Doc. 14-2, at 21-22). The Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation pays for Plaintiff's methadone in full. (Doc. 14-2, at 62).

At some  [*3] point in the last few years, Plaintiff noticed "little black rubber spots" (also described as brown or black specks) on his methadone tablets. (Doc. 14-2, at 39). In his deposition, Plaintiff describes the spots as "some type of hair, dust, [or] mold" (Doc. 14-2, at 39), and says there is a "good chance" he has taken a methadone tablet with black or brown specks on it before. (Doc. 14-2, at 39). He estimates a 95% chance that he has taken a pill with specks on it, although he does not specifically remember ever taking one. (Doc. 14-2, at 40-41).

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2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125765 *

STEVEN SCHMIEDEBUSCH, Plaintiff, v. MALLINCKRODT, INC., et al., Defendants.

Subsequent History: Adopted by, Summary judgment granted by Schmiedebusch v. Mallinckrodt, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125559 (N.D. Ohio, Oct. 31, 2011)


methadone, warranty, pills, abrogated, tablets, contaminated, Recommendation, deposition, causation, merchantability, manufacturer, contradicts, proximate, pain

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Judgments, Evidentiary Considerations, Torts, Products Liability, General Overview, Pain & Suffering, Emotional Distress, Theories of Liability, Breach of Warranty, Types of Defects, Design Defects, Marketing & Warning Defects, Causation, Proximate Cause, Genuine Disputes, Burdens of Proof, Nonmovant Persuasion & Proof, Elements