U.S. Supreme Court refuses Medtronic appeal

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: June 30, 2014 10:23 am ET
Updated: June 30, 2014 10:45 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Medical, Public Policy, United States

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused take on an appeal from medical device maker Medtronic Inc. in a liability lawsuit filed by an Arizona man allegedly left paralyzed by a device.

The refusal means that a lawsuit against the Minneapolis-based Medtronic can go forward in state courts.

The company had sought to have the original case, Stengel v. Medtronic, thrown out based on a legal concept that strictly limits the ability of individuals to sue for injuries allegedly caused by medical devices if those devices have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, commonly called pre-emption.

A U.S. District Court judge initially shut down the lawsuit, citing preemption, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in San Francisco, reinstated it. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Medtronic’s challenge to the appeals court’s decision means the original case can go forward.

Richard Stengel was left paralyzed in 2005 after the Medtronic SynchroMed EL pump and catheter surgeons implanted in 2000 allegedly malfunctioned. The pump was meant to deliver pain medication directly to his spinal cord but a mass grew on the end of the catheter. In 2005, Stengel collapsed because of the malfunctioning device and was left paralyzed from the waist down by the time doctors were able to remove it. Stengel, who has since died, sued, saying Medtronic learned the device was prone to such problems, but never told the FDA. His wife is pursuing the case.

Medtronic has argued that patients are not allowed use a state law to sue device makers for allegedly violating a duty under federal law.

Previous Supreme Court decisions have interpreted the federal law that governs medical device approval as limiting the types of suits patients can pursue. A trio of previous rulings, including two cases involving Medtronic — Medtronic v. Lohr in 1996 and Reigel v. Medtronicin 2008 — helped form that foundation of federal preemption and parallel claims for medical devices under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


Comments

U.S. Supreme Court refuses Medtronic appeal

By Gayle S. Putrich
Staff Reporter

Published: June 30, 2014 10:23 am ET
Updated: June 30, 2014 10:45 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

California Assembly passes plastic bag ban

August 28, 2014 3:07 pm ET

In its second attempt of the week, the California Assembly approved a bill that would ban single-use plastic bags statewide, the first such ban in...    More

Image

PP prices rise 5 cents

August 28, 2014 3:59 pm ET

After a one-month break, volatility has returned to the North American polypropylene resin market, with prices increasing by an average of 5 cents...    More

Image

DuPont fined for 2010 chemicals release

August 28, 2014 1:37 pm ET

DuPont Co. has been fined almost $1.3 million for the release of several chemicals — including plastics feedstock phosgene — at its plant ...    More

Image

Pregis, Sealed Air settle film-foam patent dispute out of court

August 28, 2014 1:01 pm ET

A couple of packaging companies are settling their patent fight over film-foam underlayment.    More

Image

Truce? ACC, US Green Building Council agree to work together on LEED

August 28, 2014 12:08 pm ET

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced Aug. 27 that they will be working together on a new initiat...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events