By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
In April and May 2016, dentists from Florida, Georgia and Texas filed a class action lawsuits. Six suits have been filed in federal court in Minnesota against the Minneapolis-based 3M Co. (http://www.3m.com/). These have been consolidated by the federal court. Each of the complaints in these six cases alleges that 3M’s Lava Ultimate restorative material used to make dental crowns chair-side by dentists was defective. The suits claim the material contains defects that cause the crowns to de-bond inside patients’ mouths, come lose and need replacing. Therefore, dentists have been forced to cover the cost of replacing the crowns, according to the lawsuit. The first suit involving a Florida dentist, was actually filed in federal court in Miami.
It is clear that these cases will all proceed to litigation in federal court in Minnesota. The ones filed in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota, were brought by three dentists and two dental practices for various causes of action related to the failed product.
“Defective” Lava Ultimate Dental Crown Materials.
According to what is alleged in the pleadings we have reviewed in these cases, 3M began an aggressive marketing campaign for its Lava Ultimate crown material in 2011. It claimed to dentists that the crowns produced with the restorative material provided unmatched aesthetics and durability for tooth restorations. However, the plaintiff dentists claim that crowns made with this material failed at rates of 50 percent or more, an unusually high percentage, requiring costly replacements.
As a result, 3M pulled the Lava Ultimate product for use in restorative crowns from the market in early 2016 and admitted that the product was “de-bonding at a higher-than anticipated rate.” “This suit involves hundreds of thousands of 3M Lava Ultimate restorations performed in dental practices throughout the country,” said one plaintiff’s attorney involved in the case. “Every day, dentists are replacing Lava Ultimate crowns at great expense to their practices and reputations– all because 3M put a faulty product on the market and continued to aggressively market it despite clear evidence that it failed at remarkable rates.”
3M sent a letter to dentists on June 12, 2015, alerting them to the “de-bonding” problem and advising them not to use Lava Ultimate for crowns. On June 15, 2015, the FDA classified 3M’s letter as a Class II recall.
According to the lawsuits filed, 3M had already distributed more than one million Lava Ultimate restorative kits at the time of the recall. The lawsuits also claim that the dental crown problems were immediately apparent and that 3M knew or should have known about the risk of failure but withheld information anyway.
False Advertising or Defective Marketing?
Additionally, the suits filed have accused 3M of marketing a product that it knew early on was defective and not able to stand up to its own warranty. The Plaintiffs claim that 3M settled many complaints privately out of court.
The lawsuits we have reviewed present claims against 3M for breach of warranty, violation of consumer protection laws, product liability, design defect, manufacturing defect, failure to warn, and unjust enrichment. Each of the separate lawsuits filed seek to represent all dentists who used Lava Ultimate for crowns on their patients.
Click here to see the court documents for the primary case filed in Minnesota.
To learn more about defective products and product liability, click here.
Contact an Attorney Experienced in Products Liability Litigation.
The Health Law Firm represents predominantly physicians, dentists and other health care providers. We are involved in products liability litigation. If you are a dentist who has used the 3M Lava Ultimate crown materials, contact us about filing claims and being part of the class action law suit that is currently under way.
To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
DePass, Dee. “Dentists sue 3M alleging defective crown materials.” Star Tribune. (May 17, 2016). Web.
Pound, Barry. “Dentists File Class-Action Lawsuit Against 3M over Faulty Dental Crowns.” PR Newswire. (May 17, 2016). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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