Singer / Bea Wins Two Separate Dismissals for Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

Singer/Bea recently obtained dismissals, prior to discovery, of two lawsuits brought against Intuitive Surgical, the designer and manufacturer of the da Vinci robotic surgical system.

In the first action, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, a hospital system agreed to purchase the da Vinci robot from Intuitive, and to finance its purchase through a separate financing company.  When the Hospital failed to make required payments, the financing company brought suit.  The Hospital cross-complained against Intuitive, alleging that Intuitive had misrepresented the benefits of the da Vinci system and seeking millions in damages.  The Singer / Bea team of Adam Cashman, Doug Tilley, and David Jolivet filed a demurrer and motion to strike the prayer for punitive damages.  Notwithstanding the Hospital’s argument that the complaint pleaded sufficient factual details and that, without discovery, no further allegations could reasonably be expected,  the Court agreed with Intuitive and sustained the demurrer and granted the motion to strike in their entirety.

In a second (and unrelated) action, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, a physician that purchased the da Vinci system from two unrelated third parties asserted fraud, conversion, and contract claims against Intuitive based on theories of vicarious and direct liability.  The plaintiff also propounded burdensome discovery requests in an effort to increase his leverage.  The Singer/Bea team of Adam Cashman, Doug Tilley, and David Jolivet moved to dismiss the complaint based not only on the insufficiency of the allegations in the complaint (a number of which were subject only to Rule 8’s notice pleading standards), but also on the basis of the written sales agreement with a third party seller, which the plaintiff had referenced in his pleading, but not attached.  After full briefing but before any significant discovery had occurred, the Court granted Intuitive’ s motion in its entirety.