Medtronic under attack from 29 U.S. lawsuits over recalled defibrillator leads

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The Law Offices of John David Hart, a personal injury attorney firm based in Fort Worth, Texas, has filed 29 lawsuits against Medtronic and its subsidiaries in connection with heart defibrillator leads recalled due to the risk of lead fractures which could result in serious injury or death.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Medtronic recalled its Sprint Fidelis defibrillator leads, models 6930, 6931, 6948 and 6949, on Oct. 15, 2007. According to the FDA, the leads were recalled because of the potential for fracture, which can result in the defibrillator delivering unnecessary shocks or not delivering life-saving shocks to the patient.

Filing deadlines are approaching as the statute of limitations may expire on Oct. 15, 2009, in many states. Hart has filed suit on behalf of clients from seven states, including Texas, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"Many patients with these devices may not be aware of these deadlines," said Hart.

Previously, Medtronic has managed to beat these cases based on the Supreme Court case Riegel v. Medtronic in February 2008, in which the court decided that federal law preempts state claims against FDA-approved medical devices. In January, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota dismissed with prejudice a group of class-action lawsuits filed against Medtronic regarding the faulty Sprint Fidelis leads on grounds of federal preemption. And, in February, the Wisconsin Supreme Court threw out a case against Medtronic, again ruling that federal law preempts state claims against FDA-approved medical devices.