Minnesota company targeted in St. Clair County

Ann Knef May 19, 2006, 10:34am

Attorneys from the high profile St. Louis personal injury firm of Brown & Crouppen have filed another two lawsuits against Medtronics Inc. claiming the Minnesota-based company knowingly marketed defective defibrillators.

Plaintiffs Angel Jones and Mack Herron, Illinois residents, claim they suffered economic damages and personal injuries because their implantable pacemakers contained defective batteries.

"Defendant's devices can cause serious physical trauma, injury and/or death," the 19-count lawsuits filed May 11 in St. Clair County Circuit Court state.

Neither Jones nor Herron specify their injuries, but they indicate they required hospitalization because of the allegedly defective device manufactured by Medtronics.

Defibrillators help maintain appropriate cardiac rhythm and can prevent sudden cardiac arrest. The devices used by Jones and Herron were intended to shock or pace the heart into normal rhythm in the event of heart failure.

Attorneys Seth Sharrock Webb and John J. Driscoll filed the complaints alleging products liability, defective design and manufacturing, inadequate warning, negligent misrepresentation and design, negligent manufacturing, negligent failure to warn, breach of implied warranty, common law fraud and consumer fraud.

The plaintiffs had their defibrillators surgically implanted in May 2004.

From April 2001 through December 2003, defective batteries were placed in Medtronics' devices, according to the complaint.

"These batteries are subject to rapid charge depletion due to a shorting of the battery, which leads to sudden, unpredictable loss of power without warning in some units," the complaint states.

According to the suit, Medtronic disclosed to physicians and to the Food and Drug Administration in February 2005 "the existence of, but not the magnitude of, the said defective battery issue, a condition of which they were aware for a long period of time."

The complaint states that approximately 87,000 implantable defibrillators are currently implanted in patients worldwide; approximately 75 percent of the patients are from the U.S.

In November, Brown & Crouppen filed separate lawsuits in St. Clair County against Medtronics on behalf of two Chicago-area men.

According to those complaints, Randie Green of Naperville and Anton Muller of Bensenville had their defibrillators removed after reading news reports in February 2005 that the equipment might not function properly.

"Realizing that when the device would be called upon to provide defibrillation it might have failed unknown to plaintiff, plaintiff had the defective device removed and replaced," the complaints state.

The plaintiffs' defibrillators were implanted in December 2003. Green's was removed in March 2005, Muller's on Feb. 24, 2005.

The complaints were not specific about personal injuries suffered by plaintiffs.

More News