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Medtronic to Pay $114.1 Million to Settle Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator Lawsuits

Medtronic Inc. will settle 2682 lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who claim that the implantable biomedical device maker knew that its Marquis line of implanted cardiac defibrillators was defective but didn’t do enough to pull the devices off the market or let patients know there were safer alternatives.

As part of the agreement, Medtronic will settle the cases for $95.6 million and pay $18.5 million in lawyers’ fees. Medtronic, however, says it is not admitting liability or affirming to the plaintiffs’ claims by settling the products liability lawsuits.

In a statement made by Medtronic’s Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management Unit President Pat Mackin affirmed that Implantable defibrillators made by Medtronic are “the most reliable ICD’s ever manufactured.”

Implantable defibrillators are tiny devices that deliver shocks so that the heart doesn’t beat too fast. They are implanted in the chests of patients that are at risk of a fatal heart attack-the number one cause of death in America.

In 2005, Medtronic announced that its Marquis line defibrillators could have a battery shorting problem. 11,000 patients had these defibrillators surgically removed and replaced. 2,000 similar surgeries took place overseas.

In 2004, Medtronic recalled two heart defibrillators that could have been related to at least one injury and four deaths because of the defibrillators’ failure to charge properly.

In 2007, Medtronics announced a global recall of its heart-defibrillator wires because the lead used to connect the defibrillators to the heart was fracturing. 235,000 patients were affected by this recall.

Medtronic to settle ICD lawsuits for $114 million, Reuters, December 21, 2007
Medtronic to Pay $114 Million In Settling Heart-Device Suits, WSJ, December 21, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Medtronic

A Pivotal Medical-Device Case, The New England Journal of Medicine, January 3, 2008