United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. TITUS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
November 16, 2015, Plaintiff Monica Jeffries, proceeding
pro se, filed this product liability action,
alleging she had been harmed by a Greenfield Inferior Vena
Cava Filter (“IVC filter”) “designed,
manufactured, prepared, compounded, assembling
[sic], processed, labeled, marketed, distributed,
and sold by” the Defendants “Boston Scientific
[sic]” and “Boston Scientific/Ray
Elliott, ” hereafter “BSC.” ECF No. 1. On
February 29, 2016, BSC moved to dismiss for lack of
jurisdiction, lack of standing, and failure to state a claim.
ECF Nos. 12, 13. The issues have been briefed, and no hearing
is necessary. Local Rule 105.6. Because Jeffries’
Complaint suffers from multiple fatal flaws, the Motion to
Dismiss shall be granted, but Jeffries shall have thirty (30)
days in which to file an Amended Complaint that complies with
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and addresses the
problems the Court outlines.
“is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of
business in Massachusetts.” ECF No. 13, at 9. Jeffries
is a Maryland resident, ECF No. 1, at 1, who alleges that she
was implanted with an IVC filter on March 29, 1995, ECF No.
17, at 5. Jeffries asserts that this filter was the
Greenfield IVC Filter made by BSC. ECF No. 16, at 4. Jeffries
bases this belief on “expert medical doctors,
interventions, x-rays and various scans, and finally the
operative report 3/29/1995.” ECF No. 19, at 2. Jeffries
alleges that in March 2004, there was a recall on Stainless
Steel Greenfield Vena Cava Filter with 12Fr Femoral
Introducer Systems manufactured prior to March 10, 2004. ECF
No. 1, at 5.
alleges that the IVC filter has failed to work as intended
and has caused her “serious an[d] ongoing physical,
emotional, and economic damages, heart issues, migration and
perforations.” Id. at 2. She filed this
diversity action seeking compensatory damages and punitive
damages for the cost of all past current and future medical
expenses, as well as pain and suffering incurred as a result
of the implantation of the IVC filter. Id. at 24;
ECF No. 16, at 18. The Complaint lists roughly seven causes of
action: (1) negligence, (2) strict liability-failure to warn;
(3) strict liability-design defect; (4) strict
liability-manufacturing defect; (5) breach of implied
warranty of merchantability; (6) negligent misrepresentation;
and (7) loss of consortium for Jeffries’ grandchildren.
ECF No. 1, at 16-23.
federal district court is charged with liberally construing a
complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the
development of a potentially meritorious case. Hughes v.
Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980). Nonetheless, liberal
construction does not mean that a court can ignore a clear
failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a
claim cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller
v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th
Cir. 1990). A district court may not rewrite a complaint in
order for it to survive a motion to dismiss. See Beaudett
v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir.
afforded more leeway than represented parties, pro
se litigants must still conform their filings to the
requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
including Rule 8 and Rule 11. Rule 8 requires that “[a]
pleading that states a claim for relief must contain: (1)
a short and plain statement of the grounds for the
court’s jurisdiction, . . .; [and] (2) a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” (emphasis added).
governs pleadings, motions and other papers, as well as
representations to the court and sanctions for misconduct.
Notable for this case, Rule 11(b) states that an
unrepresented party, by presenting a pleading to the court,
“certifies that to the best of the person’s
knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry
reasonable under the circumstances . . . (3) the factual
contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so
identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a
reasonable opportunity for further investigation or
discovery.” Failure to abide by Rule 11 can result in
monetary sanctions and/or dismissal.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) tests the
sufficiency of the complaint. Edwards v. City of
Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). In
considering a motion to dismiss, the Court analyzes all the
requirements listed above, as well as whether the
“complaint . . . contain[s] sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotation omitted). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. A court must construe factual allegations in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Lambeth v. Bd.
of Comm’rs of Davidson Cnty., 407 F.3d 266, 268
(4th Cir. 2005). Nevertheless, a court is not required to
accept as true “a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation, ” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265,
286 (1986), or “allegations that are merely conclusory,
unwarranted deductions of fact or unreasonable
inferences.” Veney v. Wyche, 293 F.3d 726, 730
(4th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks omitted). Put
simply, a complaint must “raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
Jeffries fails to assert a colorable, factual basis for her
claim that her IVC filter is affiliated with BSC
Complaint fails to “raise a right to relief above the
speculative level, ” id., and shall be
dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Jeffries’
voluminous Complaint and Responses contain entirely too much
extraneous information detailing the history of the IVC
recall and Jeffries’ seemingly unrelated medical
issues,  and not enough information detailing
whether her IVC filter was produced and distributed by BSC.
To the extent the Court was able to tease out Jeffries’
allegations from the jumbled pages, there appears to be no
good-faith basis to allege BSC produced Jeffries’ IVC
filter. Jeffries alleges the filter was implanted and that
BSC made a certain type of filter, but does not allege with
any factual support that her filter was produced by BSC. At
best, Jeffries has produced an operative report dated March
29, 1995 indicating she had an IVC filter inserted.
See ECF No. 17, at 5. Nowhere on the report does it
indicate what type of IVC filter was inserted or who
manufactured it. Jeffries admits that she does not have the
document identifying which type of IVC filter she has and
that removing the filter may be the only way to determine who
made it. ECF No. 16, at 5; ECF No. 19, at 4.
insufficient. There is no indication that Jeffries, prior to
filing her Complaint, made a “reasonable” inquiry
or that her “factual contentions have evidentiary
support . . . [or] will likely have evidentiary support after
a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or
discovery.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b). Rather, it appears
Jeffries simply filed her Complaint based on a hunch. Such
pure speculation fails to nudge her claims “across the
line from conceivable to plausible.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570. For this reason alone,  Jeffries’
Complaint must be dismissed.
Jeffries’ consortium claim fails ...