Medtronic Wants Court To Reject All Injury And Death Cases Based On Riegel Preemption Ruling; Federal MDL Motion To Dismiss Hearing Scheduled For November 2008
(Posted by Tom Lamb at DrugInjuryWatch.com)
A July 3, 2008 online article, "MEDTRONIC: Faces Pending 225 Suits Over Recall of Fidelis Leads", published by Lloyd's Corporate Litigation Reporter, gives us this update on the number of Sprint Fidelis lawsuits that have been filed, and where:
Approximately 225 lawsuits in relation to Medtronic Inc.'s Oct. 15, 2007 voluntarily suspension of the worldwide distribution of its Sprint Fidelis family of defibrillation leads have been filed
against the Company, as of June 19, 2008.
About 33 of the lawsuits are putative class action suits reflecting a total of approximately 600 individual personal injury cases....
Approximately 73 of the lawsuits have been filed in state court, generally alleging similar causes of action. Of those state court actions, approximately 65 are consolidated before a single judge in Minnesota state court. The federal court cases have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings before a single federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota pursuant to the MDL rules. The MDL court held its first appearance on May 28, 2008, and the Court has since entered an Order staying all discovery pending the outcome of a Nov. 4, 2008 hearing on Medtronic's motion to dismiss the complaints.
The November 4 hearing has to do with Medtronic's motion to dismiss based on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Riegel v. Medtronic case, wherein the medical device manufacturer was granted immunity against legal liability for any injury or death caused by another Medtronic product based on the doctrine of preemption.
There is proposed legislation which would serve to reverse the Riegel decision that has been introduced in the House of Represenatives and is expected to be introduced in the Senate after the July 4th recess.
We will watch for legislative developments regarding these two new federal bills that would protect the legal rights of patients who have been injured or killed by a defective and unsafe medical device, such as the Medtronic Sprint Fidelis lead wires, which were the subject of an FDA Class 1 recall in October 2007.