A jury Friday rejected a lawsuit filed against a medical device company by a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and a Reseda woman who alleged that due to the negligent design of a laser machine, she suffered thermal burns after a cellulite-removal procedure performed by the doctor.
The Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for about two days before finding in favor of Massachusetts-based Cynosure Inc. and its salesman, Kristopher Huston, in the suit brought in October 2014 by Dr. Stuart Linder and his office manager, Adriana Diaz of Reseda.
Both Linder and Diaz looked glum as they heard the jury had found against them on all of their claims, including negligence, intentional and negligent misrepresentation, strict products liability-design defect and breach of the implied warranty of merchantability.
Before dismissing the jury that heard the two-month trial, Judge Frederick Shaller called them the finest panel he had ever had, noting they had always been prompt in coming to court. He also praised the lawyers, saying they also had been among the best who have appeared before him.
Shortly after the jurors walked out of the courtroom, Shaller turned to Linder and Diaz and said, ”My condolences to you.”
In his final argument, plaintiffs’ attorney Thomas Brown said Huston repeatedly pitched Cynosure’s laser machine to Linder’s staff and finally convinced the doctor to buy one. Diaz, 38, was the first person on whom LInder used the device, Brown said.
“Adriana Diaz went into the procedure without thermal burns and came out of the procedure with thermal burns,” Brown told the jury.
Brown said Linder did not make any mistakes during the January 2013 procedure to remove cellulite on both of Diaz’s legs and abided by the teaching he was given by a Cynosure trainer. He said the physician had no idea Diaz’s skin was heating up so high that it was leaving her with “tissue death.”
Brown said Huston had falsely claimed that the machine had FDA approval and that Linder needed to buy one to stay competitive because other local plastic surgeons had already done so. About 200 plastic surgeons work in the same general area as Linder and none had purchased the device, Brown said.
Cynosure attorney Karin Curtis countered that Diaz was working out within two weeks of the procedure. She showed photos of Diaz’s legs taken in 2015, which she said showed they were in as good a condition as they were in 2012, a year before the procedure.
Curtis said many of the issues in the case were raised for the first time in March 2013, when Linder sought to be refunded the $220,000 he paid for the machine.
Along with internal burns, Diaz says she also developed a painful seroma, a pocket of clear fluid that sometimes develops in the body after surgery.
Diaz testified that she still has pain six years later, including constant throbbing in her legs — with one more painful than the other. Occasional migraine headaches she had before the procedure are now far more frequent, she said.
Diaz said she does not blame Linder for what happened to her because of the procedure and called him an “exceptional doctor.”
Diaz also has said since the procedure, she has shunned skirts and dresses in favor of pants that hide her legs.
Linder, who has made television appearances on such programs as “The Doctors,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The View,” testified that company representatives never told him he should not have used the device in an area where he completed liposuction on Diaz in 2011.
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