Medtronic settles defib. lawsuit for $268 M

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | October 14, 2010
Medical device giant Medtronic settled thousands of outstanding lawsuits related to recalled defibrillator leads for $268 million, the company said Thursday.

The Minneapolis, Minn.-based company's stock dipped close to 1 percent at the news, trading at $33.21 midday.

The settlement covers Medtronic's Sprint Fidelis family of leads that were prone to cracking and pulled in October 2007, according to an Associated Press report. Last year, Medtronic estimated 13 deaths were associated with the defect. Approximately 170,000 patients still have the potentially troubled leads in their bodies, according to the Star Tribune.

Medtronic said most of the deaths were due to the risky surgery needed to remove the leads, according to Star Tribune. Most doctors don't recommend patients with the implants have the leads switched, according to reports.

As part of the settlement, the company and plaintiffs will move to dismiss appeals pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the Minnesota Court of Appeals, as well as similar cases nationwide. The settlement also covers administrative and attorneys fees.

Medtronic said it can cancel the agreement if certain conditions aren't met, and that it's not an admission of liability. The company expects to record the settlement as a one-time charge for its second fiscal quarter.