November 1999 AAOS Report

Third Circuit opinion removes AAOS from 400 pedicle suits

An important decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, filed Oct. 7, 1999, effectively removes the AAOS, Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) and North American Spine Society (NASS) from the approximately 450 pedicle screw cases remaining before the Third Circuit. The Third Circuit upheld that portion of an earlier ruling of Judge Louis Bechtle, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, that dismissed claims of alleged conspiracy between certain orthopaedic device manufacturers and the defendant-medical societies. The Plaintiffs Legal Comittee (PLC) alleged that the "conspiracy" was to violate the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. It is possible that the PLC will appeal the opinion to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the last five years, more than 2,000 pedicle screw civil actions, involving 5,000 individual plaintiffs, were filed against manufacturers, physicians and medical associations. The civil actions were consolidated for pretrial proceedings before Judge Bechtle in 1994. The medical societies were named in the litigation in October 1995.

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