In a regulatory filing, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Intuitive said it struck a deal in September 2016 to settle the cases filed by some five shareholders in state and federal court, dating back to 2013. Ratified more than a year later in one of the cases, by the end of last year the settlement had been put in place across the other suits.
The settlement prompted Intuitive to take an $11.7 million pre-tax charge for 2017 to cover the settlements costs, according to the filing.
Intuitive is also facing a spate of product liability claims, including a 55-patient, multi-state lawsuit brought in Missouri and about 43 individual suits in state and federal courts. Those lawsuits allege that patients were injured due to defects in the company’s flagship da Vinci robot-assisted surgery platform or because the company’s surgical training program was inadequate. The plaintiffs in the product liability cases also accuse Intuitive of failing to adequately warn about the risks of surgery using the da Vinci system, according to the filing.
“After an extended confidential mediation process with legal counsel for many of the claimants covered by the tolling agreements, the company determined during 2014 that, while it denies any and all liability, in light of the costs and risks of litigation, settlement of certain claims was appropriate,” Intuitive said in filing, adding that for the just-ended year that meant a pre-tax charge of $16.3 million “to reflect the estimated cost of settling a number of the product liability claims covered by the tolling agreements.”
Intuitive also said it included $12.8 million in accrued liabilities on its balance sheet for 2017 related to product liability legislation.