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Legal Preemption in Medical Device Lawsuits

Posted on in Defective Medical Devices

Having an attorney in defective medical devices cases is important, and having the right attorney can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful case. Medical device lawsuits are complicated and highly technical. Moreover, defendants in these cases are usually large medical device manufacturers who have high profile attorneys on retainer. Plaintiffs, thus, have to be careful in choosing an attorney. They must ensure that the attorney not only understands the complexities of medical device lawsuits, but he or she also is experienced in federal and state litigation.

A good attorney will prepare for a case may involve more than one litigation forum. Take Richard's case, for example. Richard sued Medtronic in state court when a medical device that it manufactured rendered him a paraplegic.

Though Richard had a strong case, a judge dismissed it right at the start after defendant's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case arguing that a federal law governed this area of law, which meant that a state court could not hear it.

In attempt to save the case, Richard's attorney tired to amend the lawsuit to include issues of state law, but the trial court denied the request. This meant that instead of having his day in court, Richard had to engage in an expensive and protracted legal battle just to determine whether he could sue at all.

After two years of litigation, the appellate court finally held that Richard could sue in state court. However, this only meant that Richard could now bring a case to hold Medtronic accountable for its negligence. For Richard this was only the beginning of the battle.

An experienced attorney should have been able to anticipate the initial challenge and prepared for it by including all the relevant information in the initial pleadings. This could have avoided the delay.

If you have been injured, make sure that an experienced Illinois attorney who understands the complexities of defective medical device litigation is on your side.

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