Medtronics targeted in St. Clair County again

By Ann Knef | Jun 12, 2006

Attorneys from Brown & Crouppen in St. Louis have once again filed suit against Minnesota-based defibrillator manufacturer Medtronics.

Illinois resident Stephen Squellati, who suffers from a heart condition, claims he suffered personal injuries and economic damages as a result of a defective battery contained in a surgically implanted pacemaker.

The 24-count lawsuit filed in St. Clair County June 2 alleges 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 suit is the third one brought against Minnesota-based Medtronics by attorneys Seth Sharrock Webb and John J. Driscoll in the past six months in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

As in the other suits brought against Medtronics, the plaintiff claims that batteries subject to rapid charge depletion were placed in the company's defibrillators between April 2001 through December 2003. The devices shock or pace the heart into normal rhythm in the event the user suffers a rapid, life-threatening heart rhythm disturbance.

In February 2005, Medtronics disclosed to physicians and to the Food and Drug Administration the existence of the defective battery, according to the lawsuit.

"At all times relevant to this action, Defendant knew and/or had reason to know that the implantable defibrillators were not safe for the patients for whom they were prescribed and implanted," the complaint states.

Squellati claims he was unaware of the dangerous propensities of the product until well after his use and subsequent injuries requiring hospitalization.

He was implanted with a Medtronic Model 7230 on June 2, 2004.

Squellati does not indicate what type of injuries he sustained from his use of the Medtronics device.

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.

The same attorneys from Brown & Crouppen filed suit on behalf of plaintiffs Angel Jones and Mack Herron in St. Clair County. They also claim they suffered economic damages and personal injuries because their implantable pacemakers contained defective batteries.

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