Sulzer Orthopedics Refutes News Reports Regarding Punitive Damages

Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Sulzer Medica

    WINTERTHUR, Switzerland, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Sulzer Medica
 (NYSE:   SM; Swiss: SMEN) announced today that its subsidiary, Sulzer
 Orthopedics Inc., refuted recent news stories that erroneously suggested that
 punitive damages might be applied in litigation pending against the company
 concerning its recent voluntary recall of hip implant parts.  "Clearly,
 punitive damages are not appropriate in the Sulzer litigation, according to
 the criteria set forth for punitive damages in United States law," said Sulzer
 Orthopedics' attorney Ken Seeger, of the law firm of Crosby, Heafey, Roach and
 May.  "There will be litigation and court actions, but because of Sulzer's
 quick investigation and recall, we are confident that punitive damages will
 not be awarded."
     According to U.S. law, punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant
 for outrageous conduct resulting from "the defendant's evil motive or his
 reckless indifference to the rights of others."  In product liability cases,
 for example, this standard is met only if it can be shown that the
 manufacturer had actual knowledge of a product's defect before placing it on
 the market and knew that injuries could occur through the product's use.  In
 short, a defendant must have had specific knowledge of a product's defect and
 its potential for harm in order for an award of punitive damages to be
 appropriate.
     "American law provides for a legal means of punishing companies that
 wantonly disregard public safety for their own private gain, but that is not
 the case with Sulzer's voluntary recall," said Seeger.  "Once Sulzer
 Orthopedics received notice of cases of early loosening of its Inter-Op(TM)
 hip shell, the company immediately started its investigation, and as soon as
 it discovered that the product was the cause, it voluntarily initiated the
 recall of the product on December 5."
     "Sulzer Orthopedics conducted a thorough, scientific investigation and
 voluntarily recalled the product as soon as the evidence was conclusive," said
 Lawrence D. Dorr, MD, a Los Angeles based surgeon, who has used Sulzer
 implants successfully for 20 years.  "Within the medical device industry, a
 manufacturer cannot just withdraw a product from the market at the first
 notice of a loosening.  Thorough investigations are necessary to avoid jumping
 to conclusions.  In my opinion, Sulzer Orthopedics' handling of this issue is
 an outstanding example of a company's acting quickly and responsibly."
     Headquartered in Winterthur, Switzerland, Sulzer Medica develops,
 manufactures and markets implantable medical devices and biological products
 for cardiovascular and orthopedic markets worldwide.  The Company's product
 offering includes joint prostheses, spinal implants, dental implants, trauma
 surgery products, heart valves, and vascular grafts.
 
     THE SAFE HARBOR STATEMENTS UNDER THE U.S. PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION
 REFORM ACT 1995
     This report contains forward-looking statements including, but not limited
 to, projections of future performance of materials and products, financial
 conditions, results of operations and cash flows, containing risks and
 uncertainties.  These statements are subject to change based on known risks
 detailed from time to time in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission
 filings and other known and unknown risks and various other factors which
 could cause the actual results or performance to differ materially from the
 statements made herein.
     The press release is available on internet:
 http://www.sulzermedica.com/media/mainpage.htm
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X23964878
 
 

SOURCE Sulzer Medica
    WINTERTHUR, Switzerland, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Sulzer Medica
 (NYSE:   SM; Swiss: SMEN) announced today that its subsidiary, Sulzer
 Orthopedics Inc., refuted recent news stories that erroneously suggested that
 punitive damages might be applied in litigation pending against the company
 concerning its recent voluntary recall of hip implant parts.  "Clearly,
 punitive damages are not appropriate in the Sulzer litigation, according to
 the criteria set forth for punitive damages in United States law," said Sulzer
 Orthopedics' attorney Ken Seeger, of the law firm of Crosby, Heafey, Roach and
 May.  "There will be litigation and court actions, but because of Sulzer's
 quick investigation and recall, we are confident that punitive damages will
 not be awarded."
     According to U.S. law, punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant
 for outrageous conduct resulting from "the defendant's evil motive or his
 reckless indifference to the rights of others."  In product liability cases,
 for example, this standard is met only if it can be shown that the
 manufacturer had actual knowledge of a product's defect before placing it on
 the market and knew that injuries could occur through the product's use.  In
 short, a defendant must have had specific knowledge of a product's defect and
 its potential for harm in order for an award of punitive damages to be
 appropriate.
     "American law provides for a legal means of punishing companies that
 wantonly disregard public safety for their own private gain, but that is not
 the case with Sulzer's voluntary recall," said Seeger.  "Once Sulzer
 Orthopedics received notice of cases of early loosening of its Inter-Op(TM)
 hip shell, the company immediately started its investigation, and as soon as
 it discovered that the product was the cause, it voluntarily initiated the
 recall of the product on December 5."
     "Sulzer Orthopedics conducted a thorough, scientific investigation and
 voluntarily recalled the product as soon as the evidence was conclusive," said
 Lawrence D. Dorr, MD, a Los Angeles based surgeon, who has used Sulzer
 implants successfully for 20 years.  "Within the medical device industry, a
 manufacturer cannot just withdraw a product from the market at the first
 notice of a loosening.  Thorough investigations are necessary to avoid jumping
 to conclusions.  In my opinion, Sulzer Orthopedics' handling of this issue is
 an outstanding example of a company's acting quickly and responsibly."
     Headquartered in Winterthur, Switzerland, Sulzer Medica develops,
 manufactures and markets implantable medical devices and biological products
 for cardiovascular and orthopedic markets worldwide.  The Company's product
 offering includes joint prostheses, spinal implants, dental implants, trauma
 surgery products, heart valves, and vascular grafts.
 
     THE SAFE HARBOR STATEMENTS UNDER THE U.S. PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION
 REFORM ACT 1995
     This report contains forward-looking statements including, but not limited
 to, projections of future performance of materials and products, financial
 conditions, results of operations and cash flows, containing risks and
 uncertainties.  These statements are subject to change based on known risks
 detailed from time to time in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission
 filings and other known and unknown risks and various other factors which
 could cause the actual results or performance to differ materially from the
 statements made herein.
     The press release is available on internet:
 http://www.sulzermedica.com/media/mainpage.htm
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X23964878
 
 SOURCE  Sulzer Medica