Medtronic can't dodge pain pump lawsuit

January 11, 2013 by MassDevice staff

A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a lower court's ruling, reviving a lawsuit accusing medical device giant Medtronic of negligence and liability for an implantable pain pump that allegedly left a patient with permanent paralysis.

Medtronic's SynchroMed EL implantable paim pump

Medical device giant Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) lost a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing, with a panel of judges ruling unanimously that a case against the medical device giant and its implantable pain pumps may proceed.

The case had been thrown out of court earlier this year when a federal judge dismissed the case of grounds of preemption, which holds that patients can't sue medical device makers in state courts over products that went through the FDA's most stringent review process, called pre-market approval.

The 9th Circuit's 3-judge panel this week decided that plaintiff Richard Stengel, who had the pump implanted into his abdomen in 2000, could proceed with his negligence claims against Medtronic, Thomson Reuters reported.

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Medtronic had landed a legal win in the case in April 2012 when the same 9th Circuit Court upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss Stengel's case on preemption grounds.

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