The statute of limitations in a defective medical product claim may start to run from the time the plaintiff is first made aware that the injury may have been tortiously caused by a defective product. Guidi v. Stryker Corporation; Howmedica Osteonics Corporation, No. 03-55410, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Jan. 7, 2005.

The plaintiff underwent total hip replacement surgery after a congenital hip disorder was discovered. Ten years later, she began to suffer pain in her hip and consulted two orthopedic surgeons. Both surgeons advised that the replacement hip had deteriorated over time and recommended another surgery to replace her hip prosthesis with a new one. The surgery took place on March 8, 2001, and afterward it was discovered that the hip prosthesis was defective and had not merely deteriorated. The plaintiff commenced a lawsuit against the makers of the hip prosthesis, and the defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s lawsuit was barred by the 1-year statute of limitations. The district court granted the motion, but the appellate court reversed. It held that the plaintiff was not aware that her hip prosthesis was defective until she underwent surgery to replace it. Because she filed her lawsuit within 1 year of the date of that discovery, her lawsuit was not time barred.