California Jury Clears Hospital In Bellwether Trial Over Alleged Use of Counterfeit Spinal Implants

Posted by David Siegel on Nov 14, 2022 2:53:34 PM

Moses closings

CVN screenshot of defense attorney Richard Carroll delivering his closing argument 

Riverside, CA - A California state court jury returned a defense verdict on Thursday for a hospital accused of using knockoff versions of spinal surgical implants, in the first case out of hundreds to go to trial.

The jury returned their verdict two days after hearing closing arguments in a trial that began in Riverside County Superior Court on October 12, and the full trial was recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.

Plaintiff Derika Moses accused Riverside Community Hospital of “gross negligence” in allowing doctors to use supposedly imitation metal screws in her spinal fusion surgery, but attorneys for the hospital successfully argued the FDA never determined the screws were counterfeit, and that Moses fully consented to the procedure.

The trial was closely tracked by both plaintiff and defense attorneys due to being the first civil case to go before a jury among the many lawsuits initially paused in the wake of a sprawling federal criminal investigation of the alleged use of counterfeit spinal implants in a number of California hospitals.

Subscribers to CVN's online trial video library get unlimited on-demand access to the full trial, including all witness testimony, along with hundreds of other trials from throughout the United States featuring top plaintiff and defense attorneys. (Check out 10 of the top plaintiff and defense medical malpractice trials in CVN's video library).

Attorneys for Moses argued she had “counterfeit hardware” implanted in her spine following an on-the-job injury, and that administrators at Riverside Community Hospital knew doctors were using supposedly non-FDA approved devices in violation of hospital policies.

Moses’ attorneys told jurors the provider of the spinal screws in question, Spinal Solutions LLC, was cut off by their supplier U&I Corporation following a legal dispute. Fraysse told the jury Spinal Solutions responded by obtaining screws from a small private manufacturer who allegedly fraudulently labeled the devices with fake U&I branding, characterizing the screws a “crude copies of a genuine product.”


Moses had to have the implants removed five years after her initial surgery and claimed to be totally disabled due to chronic pain requiring a cocktail of potent medications. Her attorneys sought over $2 million in damages.

Riverside Community Hospital’s attorney Richard Carroll of Carroll Kelly Trotter & Franzen maintained throughout the trial that the hospital should not be held responsible for the actions of surgeons he characterized as independent contractors.

During his closing argument Carroll argued forcefully that the hospital did its due diligence in obtaining Moses’ fully informed consent for the surgery. He repeatedly took issue with the claim the screws in question were not approved by the FDA, suggesting that “off label” use for drugs and medical devices is both a common and legally acceptable practice.

He also pushed back against claims the hospital failed to perform an investigation into the alleged use of counterfeit materials, arguing that the hospital properly relied on an outside investigation by the FDA that Carroll said did not raise any red flags that could serve as the basis for halting operations like the one Moses underwent.

The trial took place before Judge Harold Hopp.

Moses was represented by Knox Ricksen LLP.

The recently concluded trial is captioned Derika Moses v. Healthsmart Pacific Inc., case number CVSW1400002 in Riverside County Superior Court.

Topics: Malpractice, California