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U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Story, ruling in the first six of dozens of bone screw cases before him, last month became the 44th federal judge to grant summary judgment to screw-maker Sofamor-Danek Group Inc., the company’s lawyer says.

Story disqualified a doctor testifying for two plaintiffs and another testifying for four. Without the doctors’ testimony, Story ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to support the plaintiffs’ claims. The plaintiffs asserted that the screws aggravated the very spinal injuries they were supposed to help heal.

Anthony C.H. Vale, a partner at Philadelphia’s Pepper Hamilton headingthe national defense for Sofamor-Danek, says Story’s decisions raise thenumber of summary judgments the company has won since ’94 to 127.

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