Medtronic Shareholder Sues Company for Suppressing Lead Information

Medtronic Shareholders Sue Defective Products

Medtronic Shareholder Sues Company for Suppressing Lead Information

Medtronic has been sued a lot lately. After Medtronic recalled their Sprint Fidelis defibrillator lead in October 2007, patients started suing. Now, a Medtronic shareholder has filed suit against the company for suppressing information on the leads that caused the company’s stock to plummet nearly 20 percent.
The lawsuit
Medtronic investor Stanley Kurzweil recently filed suit against the company in the U.S. District Court of Minneapolis where Medtronic is headquartered. Kurzweil is seeking to have the lawsuit certified as a class action on behalf of all Medtronic investors who bought the company’s stock between June 25th and October 15th 2007 – the day that Medtronic announced the recall. The lawsuit alleges that Medtronic made several false and misleading statements about their Sprint Fidelis defibrillator lead although it knew about the lead’s problems during that time.
Reports of what Medtronic may have known
Medtronic may have known about problems with the leads much earlier than June 2007. Doctors and hospitals across the country such as the Minneapolis Heart Institute, Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital have reported that they told Medtronic about these problems as early as January 2007 – ten months before the company issued the recall and took the product off of the market.
Patient lawsuits
Several lawsuits have been filed against Medtronic and experts expect that there will be many more to come. Plaintiffs allege that Medtronic acted negligently by knowingly selling a defective product. Many have also alleged emotional distress in these suits as the ‘recall’ may mean having risky surgery to remove or replace their Fidelis lead with another model. In another lawsuit, a Texas patient sued the company for theft after his lead was sent back to Medtronic and the company destroyed it.

Update

In February 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in Riegel v. Medtronics that patients injured by certain medical devices approved by the FDA cannot sue the product’s manufacturer. As of August 2008, the Supreme Court’s ruling is being challenged in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
About the company
Medtronic makes medical and surgical devices that diagnose, manage and treat diseases of the heart, brain, spine and ear, digestive system and urinary tract. Its U.S. headquarters are in Minneapolis, MN and it operates in 120 countries. Its major competitors are Boston Scientific Corporation, Johnson & Johnson and St. Jude Medical, Inc. The company, who employs 38,000 people worldwide, reported revenues of $12.3 Billion in its last fiscal year.

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