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Woman's product liability claim is too late, where she was unaware of damage during statute of limitations period

The statute of limitations for a product liability claim is three years.  Robin Smith alleged that a pain pump manufactured by the Stryker Corporation was defective and marketed improperly (without FDA approval) for use in joints.  She used the pump in 2003 but did not sue until 2009.  She claimed that her suit was filed within three years of discovering her injury in 2007, when she experienced total destruction of the joint. 

The Court of Appeals noted that the Engler Majority of the Michigan Supreme Court had rejected a "discovery of claim" analysis in Michigan, overturning decades of law allowing a victim to sue when he or she learned of the theoretical right and injury.  Instead, the Court ruled that under the Engler analysis, Smith's lawsuit rights accrued when she used the product and suffered the commencement of injury--regardless of whether she reasonably could have known of her claim at that time.  Even though she didn't manifest damages until 2007,  her right to sue expired in 2006---three years after she used the product.

Smith's attorneys also argued that the statute of limitations was extended for two years as a result of the manufacturer's fraudulent concealment of its improper marketing.  The Court of Appeals did not address this claim as it found no documentary evidence had been filed to substantiate the fraudulent concealment claim.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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