Justices: Makers have duty to warn hospitals about devices

Washington state teacher settles discrimination suit

The Washington Supreme Court says a lower court erred when it didn’t tell a jury that a manufacturer had a duty to warn the hospital about its products.

The 6-3 majority on Thursday overturned a Kitsap County jury and ordered a new trial in the case of Fred Taylor. The Bremerton man sued Intuitive Surgical Inc., which made the surgical robot used in his botched operation at Harrison Medical Center. His wife proceeded with the lawsuit following his death.

The company argued that since it warned the doctor who performed the surgery, it had no duty to warn any other party.

The majority said the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury that warnings to the doctor didn’t excuse the company’s duty to warn the hospital.

In a dissenting opinion, three justices agreed that the manufacturer owed a duty to the hospital but said Taylor’s estate cannot recover an alleged breach of duty owed to another.