Bloomberg Anywhere Login


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Medtronic Appeal in Paraplegic Suit Gets High Court Query

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court expressed interest in Medtronic Inc.’s appeal in a lawsuit by a man who was rendered a paraplegic after surgeons implanted a system that infuses pain medication into the spine.

The justices today asked the Obama administration for advice on a federal appeals court decision letting the suit go forward. The suit accuses Medtronic of failing to tell federal regulators about previous problems with the SynchroMed EL pump and catheter.

Medtronic argues that patients can’t use state law to sue device makers for allegedly violating a duty under federal law. The appeals court rejected that argument, allowing the suit by Richard Stengel and his wife under Arizona state law.

Previous Supreme Court decisions have interpreted the federal law that governs medical-device approval as limiting the types of suits patients can press. In a 2008 ruling, the court said device makers can’t be subjected to additional requirements under state product-liability law.

That ruling left room for patients to sue under state rules that are “parallel” to federal requirements. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the claims by the Stengels met that test and could go forward.

The case is Medtronic v. Stengel, 12-1351.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.