Medtronic Fidelis suits dismissed due to preemption precedent

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A group of class-action lawsuits filed against Medtronic regarding its faulty Sprint Fidelis defibrillator leads was dismissed Monday by a federal court in Minnesota.

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota dismissed with prejudice the Master Consolidated Complaint for Individuals and the Master Consolidated Complaint for Third-Party Payors relating to the multi-district litigation (MDL) involving Medtronic’s Sprint Fidelis defibrillator leads on grounds of federal preemption.

The court issued a companion order that each case in the MDL will be dismissed with prejudice, unless an individual plaintiff can establish his or her case survives the Court’s preemption analysis based on claims different from those asserted in the master complaints.

The judge’s decision keeps with a Supreme Court ruling handed down last year. The decision in that case, Riegel v. Medtronic, established that medical device companies should be shielded from product-liability suits filed in most states because federal regulators have already approved the devices for sale.

The company suspended distribution of the leads in 2007, citing safety concerns.

“We are pleased with the Court’s decision, which is consistent with the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Riegel v. Medtronic last year, following a long line of circuit court decisions,” said Bill Hawkins, chairman and CEO of the Minneapolis-based Medtronic.