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Judge dismisses Medtronic lawsuits, cites Supreme Court pre-emption case.

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The Wall Street Journal (1/7, A2, Burton) reports, "A federal judge threw out lawsuits on behalf of thousands of patients with heart-defibrillator wires that have been shown to fracture and dispatch potentially lethal shocks, concluding that a recent Supreme Court opinion made the dismissals inevitable" because that case said "that federal law ‘pre-empts’ product-liability lawsuits under state law, effectively precluding such cases." The judge said, "The Court recognizes that at least some plaintiffs have suffered injuries from using Sprint Fidelis leads, and the Court is not unsympathetic to their plight." He added, however, that "the plaintiffs’ remedy ‘lies with Congress.’" The Minneapolis Star Tribune (1/6, Moore) also covered the story.

Dow Jones (1/6) reported, "The decision comes less than a year after the US Supreme Court said federal medical-device regulations prevent patients from bringing state product-liability lawsuits unless a company violated FDA regulations, making it harder for individuals to sue medical-device companies over faults or failures of a device. That case was Riegel v. Medtronic."

The AP (1/7) reports, "In recent years, the Bush administration and business groups have aggressively pushed limits on lawsuits through the doctrine of pre-emption — asserting that federal regulations take precedent over rules that differ from state to state." Soon, "the Supreme Court is expected to…rule on the issue as it relates to drugmakers in a case between Wyeth and a patient who lost her hand after receiving a botched injection of the company’s anti-nausea medication."