Defining a Medtronic Class Action

by admin on March 31, 2009

All across the U.S. and Canada, thousands of cardiology patients are living with the worry that they may have had defective defibrillators implanted near their hearts. Units containing lead wires produced by Medtronic, Inc. have been found to malfunction in about 3.75% of the cases, a much higher number than those associated with similar devices. Since there is no good way to know who received the faulty defibrillators, thousands of patients are living with the possibility that their defibrillators won’t function correctly when they need them. The only solution to this problem is to have the units replaced, but this is a very expensive procedure and requires the purchase of another $20,000 defibrillator. In order to obtain the money they will need to have a replacement done, many patients are choosing to file Medtronic class action lawsuits.

It’s likely that you may not quite understand what a class action is. This term refers to a lawsuit started by one person on behalf of himself that then seeks others in similar situations to join the group or class in an effort to get a settlement from a certain person, group, or business. It’s much less expensive to become part of a class action suit than it is to file an individual suit, and they are far easier for everyone in very complex cases.

When the suit is first filed, a judge will consider it and decide if it is viable to become a class action. If he determines that it is, he will then make decisions regarding who will be eligible to become part of the group or class. After the guidelines have been put in place, all known persons who fit them will be included in the Medtronic class action suit. The only exception is if someone files the instructions given by the court for how to be excluded from the lawsuit. If the class action then goes on to be successful, everyone in the group will reap the benefits.

After the case proceeds to class action status, a person or two will be appointed to represent everyone else in the class. This person or persons will interact with the attorneys on the behalf of all other members of the group. No one in the group will have to pay the attorneys initially, because lawyers in these cases go ahead and prosecute without a retainer. If the suit is successful, then the lawyers will get a hefty cut of the proceeds. Group members also won’t be required to pay for the services of a judge either, if the suit doesn’t become a class action or if the class action is unsuccessful.

If your heart defibrillator doesn’t function as it should, or if there’s a possibility that you could have a defective implant, the smart thing to do is to hire an attorney who specializes in Medtronic class actions so that you can benefit from any settlement the group gets. Although some class action suits have been denied in recent months, there have still been many others that have been successful. By challenging Medtronic, Inc. regarding their misrepresentation of their product in order to seek restitution for yourself or in behalf of someone who has died because of the faulty device, you aren’t going to be out any money, but you could certainly gain the assistance you need.

Patients who have suffered from defibrillator malfunctions and those who potentially have defective devices implanted in their chests can do nothing better for themselves than filing a Medtronic class action lawsuit. The only way to solve the problem of having a bad implant is to have a total replacement done, and this is a very expensive procedure. Although the defective lead wires in these units have been going bad since 2004, thousands of people are still at a risk of developing problems. The unit was only on the market for three years, but in that time an estimated 278,000 people received the implants, and many of these people are still living their lives with a time bomb ticking in their chests.

It isn’t necessary to file an individual lawsuit in order to stand up for your rights if you have one of these implants. Instead, it can be much more cost-effective to file a Medtronic class action lawsuit in order to seek restitution for pain and suffering as well as for unit replacement costs. In a class action suit, everything is handled just as it would be in an individual suit. All of the pretrial gathering of information, testimonies from witnesses, and documentation, however, is done for a group of patients all at once. Since this means that all of this pretrial activity only needs to happen once instead of thousands of times, the process is much more efficient and far less expensive.

The Medtronic class action lawsuit will be put into motion by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who will appoint a panel of seven judges to select one judge who will preside over all of the pretrial activities of the case. Don’t worry that all of this group activity will make your case look insignificant, however. After the pretrial phase, your case will be sent back to the court where you first filed it in order to be handled from there on as an individual case.

Most of the Medtronic class action lawsuits that are filed actually end up being settled out of court. Medtronic’s biggest worry is keeping stock prices high and investors happy. Therefore, company executives want to take care of any potentially-negative publicity as quickly as possible. Once the corporate lawyers have a chance to read the pretrial information and figure out the company liability in the case, they’re interested in getting reasonable settlements to claimants as quickly as possible.

Medtronic class action lawsuits are being filed under the premise that the company was not forthcoming with safety issues as they should have been. As a result, thousands more patients now have the potentially-faulty devices implanted in their chests. The lawsuits allege that the number of wires that are defective is much higher than the company would lead people to believe. A patient with a faulty wire could end up getting huge electrical shocks or far too many shocks for hours at a time. Other patients have suffered incidents when the device should have given them a shock and didn’t.

Even though Medtronic has tried to convey to the public that their lead wires aren’t to blame for the problems, in actuality they do malfunction far more often than similar products. If you are using one of these potentially-dangerous implants, it’s important for you to see your doctor for more information. If you find that this is the type of unit you’re using, hire a lawyer who specializes in the handling of Medtronic class action lawsuits, and file for the restitution you deserve. This kind of a settlement could provide the financial security you want for your family.

Medtronic Lawsuits: Who’s in the Right?

by admin on March 31, 2009

A lot of individual and class action lawsuits have been filed against a company that makes medical devices, Medtronic.  Most recently the suits have been filed due to the malfunctioning of a device known as the Sprint Fidelis which works as lead wires for defibrillators. Many of these suits have alleged that the company knew two years prior to recalling the device that it was faulty and could have saved lives by reporting the information they had in a more timely manner. Even though there have been health problems and even deaths attributed to the use of the defibrillators, several of these cases have been dismissed in favor of the company. Attorneys for the plaintiffs continue to charge Medtronic with negligence, but some judges aren’t buying it.

In March, 2009 a Medtronic lawsuit was dismissed by a Minnesota district court judge who said the company had not misrepresented the facts. The Sprint Fidelis device contains the lead wire that connects the patient’s heart to the defibrillator. The defibrillator is a device that senses the abnormal heart rhythms some people have and then sends out electric shocks to correct them. If the lead wire is defective, the patient may not receive the shocks that are needed or may receive far too many painful shocks. It has been alleged in a number of cases that the failure of these lead wires to perform their functions has resulted in the death of the patients they were implanted in. Obviously some judges aren’t in agreement that anyone should be held responsible.

Another Minnesota judge dismissed a class action Medtronic lawsuit in January, 2009. The suit had been filed by patients who were wearing implants that might be faulty. The judge refused to honor their claims stating that the company had done everything it was required to do and that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved the device for use. Only a month later, a Wisconsin judge dismissed another case on the same grounds. In this case the judge cited a US Supreme Court decision dismissing a similar lawsuit in favor of the company.

In spite of the fact that a number of Medtronic lawsuits have been dismissed in the company’s favor, they’ve still been forced to pay settlements in many more. For example, even though company sales jumped 12% in 2006, they experienced 89% lower profits in one quarter due to the fact that they had spent around $275 million settling lawsuits that were found in favor of the claimants.

These recent cases aren’t the first time Medtronic has had to deal with problems regarding product safety and resulting lawsuits. The company was forced to recall two different defibrillators in 2004 after they were found to have caused the deaths of four patients. In early 2007 an ex-engineer for the company testified that Medtronic did not test one of its devices properly prior to releasing it for public use. Later in that same year the company announced the decision to recall the Sprint Fidelis which had been used in conjunction with thousands of defibrillators.

It seems like everyone in these cases is pointing fingers at everyone else. The patients are blaming the company for defective products and misrepresentation of information. The company is saying the blame lies with the FDA for approving a defective product, and some judges are agreeing with them. Medtronic lawsuits are being filed in abundance, but it’s anyone’s guess where the battle will end up.

Aren’t you amazed at all the wonderful things modern technology can do? By using technology science has explored deep into outer space, designed intricate computer systems, and corrected health problems that would have definitely caused death a century ago. Unfortunately, when something is faulty in the complex structure of these wonderful devices, the results can be catastrophic. After all, it was only a small piece that caused the Challenger to blow up right after lift-off, you know what can happen when a small part in your computer malfunctions, and a tiny wire used in heart defibrillators has caused the deaths of a number of people.

These things shouldn’t happen, but when they do, victims need to have some type of recourse against the makers of the faulty parts. The problems with the defibrillators were caused by defective Sprint Fidelis wire lead components manufactured by a company called Medtronic. The device was used from 2004 until it was recalled in 2007, and thirteen deaths have now been attributed to its failure. In addition, one woman reported that her defibrillator started shorting out while she was driving down the freeway and that it was a miracle that she managed to get pulled off on the side of the road.

Approximately 278,000 of these potentially-defective defibrillators have been implanted in people’s chests all over the world, and since the majority of them haven’t yet been replaced, there is still a lot of room left for failures. Medtronic did finally pull the device from the market in 2007, but the company still believes that as many as 5,000 more of the components will go bad in the near future. The replacement surgery for the defibrillators is very expensive, so patients are now hiring a Medtronic lawyer to help them.

Have you got a defibrillator that was implanted between 2004 and 2007? If you do, you’ll want to discuss the situation with your doctor to see if you have any cause for alarm and to determine what your next step will be. If you find that you are living with a potentially dangerous piece of equipment, you’ll need to pursue one of the options that are open to you. Even if you haven’t yet experienced any problems with your defibrillator, you should still consider hiring a Medtronic lawyer to help you file suit against the company in order to get the help you need to pay for a replacement of the device and the surgery that goes along with it.

Some of the defects of the faulty Sprint Fidelis device have been electrical shock and a battery that can deplete in a matter of hours, both of which can potentially lead to death. Although only 3.75% of the devices are expected to fail, there’s no way to predict who has these defective implants. To put the failure rate into perspective, you need to realize that the failure potential for other similar units is only 0.6%. If your defibrillator is starting to malfunction, you may feel dizzy or faint. Medtronic was aware of the problems in 2005, but it failed to recall the product until 2007 which endangered thousands more lives than necessary.

If your doctor tells you that you still have one of these defective implants in place, you need to discuss with him the feasibility of having it replaced. You also need to hire a Medtronic lawyer who will be able to advise you on the correct course of action so that you can get help paying for the expensive cost of having the device replaced.

The litigations against Medtronic, Inc., a medical device company, have piled up over the last decade and resulted in some huge Medtronic settlements. The company has been charged with unethical practices, fraud, and misrepresenting the risks of some of their products. Some of the charges they have dealt with are related to kickbacks the company paid to physicians to get them to use their spinal devices. The U.S. Department of Justice investigated a kickback claim and was awarded a $40 million settlement in 2006. The federal healthcare program anti-kickback statute forbids companies to participate in product-related kickbacks. Medtronic chose to ignore this statute, and huge settlements resulted.

The government lawsuit alleged that Medtronic had given all kinds of freebies to doctors who in turn used their products. Some of these kickbacks included scheduling meetings in fancy resort areas, giving the doctors free services, and paying them for consultations they never gave. It was also alleged that Medtronic paid one physician over a half million dollars in kickbacks during a four month period.

A former company attorney who had been fired from the company because she asked too many questions about the kickbacks that were being made also filed suit against Medtronic. She alleged that the company gave physicians regular access to strip clubs, trips to Alaska, and royalties from patents they didn’t own.

Following the 2006 Medtronic settlement, the company had signed a Corporate Integrity Agreement saying that they would follow more ethical practices in the future. However, by 2008 they were back in court. This time the charges were filed based on claims of Medicare fraud related to patient surgeries. What the company was said to have done was to bribe physicians to perform simple outpatient surgeries as inpatient surgeries instead. Once that happened, Medtronic was able to file grossly-inflated bills to medicare. This practice went on for many years resulting in a huge amount of government spending. The company had to pay a settlement of $75 million for this scheme. Wouldn’t you think it would have taught them something?

On and beyond the legal liability incurred by the company for their practices regarding their spine devices, Medtronic has also been slapped with many lawsuits and class actions in response to their marketing of defective lead wire devices that were part of defibrillators implanted in thousands of patients. During the period of time between 2004 and 2007, as many as 278,000 of these units were implanted. Although only 3.75% of these devices are said to be faulty, thirteen people have already died due to the problems, and thousands of others still have to worry about having potentially-dangerous equipment in their bodies. In recent months some class action suits were dismissed by judges, many others have resulted in Medtronic settlements.

It’s appalling to think about where greed has already taken corporate America and to wonder how much farther it can go. After listening to the hype surrounding such things as the AIG bonus scandal and reading about the multi-million dollar Medtronic settlements, consumers are getting a good idea of what is going on and the poor judgment that is being used in corporate spending. Many people question just why the economy has gotten so rocky, but it’s easy to understand when you hear stories like these and of the complete disregard some companies have for the quality of the products they produce and the lives of the people using the products. Medtronic has certainly established a history of defective goods, defrauding the government, and using unethical methods.