The first St. Jude Riata federal bellwether trial has been scheduled for February 2015. This trial involves two filed product liability lawsuits against St. Jude. U.S. District Judge James V. Selna is presiding over the St. Jude Riata lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Defective St. Jude Riata Defibrillator Leads
The plaintiffs claim that the recalled St. Jude Riata defibrillator leads used to connect implantable defibrillators to the heart were defective and subject to failure. This defect, caused the defibrillator device to produce unnecessary electric shocks or fail to work when required to deliver shocks.
St. Jude Riata Defibrillator Leads Recall
The St. Jude Riata leads were removed from the market in late 2010, amid reports that the insulation surrounding the wires was prone to corrode and fail, resulting in exposed wires inside the body.
St. Jude Riata Litigation
A federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) has not been authorized for pending St. Jude Riata cases. MDL pre-trial consolidation is usual in medical devices product liability litigation and pharmaceutical cases to reduce discovery, and to avoid contradictory rulings from different courts.
The first trial will be a joint trial of two cases; a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Daniel Calise, and an injury lawsuit brought by Michael Thomson. The Calises claim that their 23-year-old son died from cardiopulmonary arrest as a result of St. Jude Riata lead failure.
Thompson claims that he was advised that his Riata lead was failing and that it needed to be replaced. Thompson required risky revision surgery, which has caused him to suffer injury, and medical expenses.
What is the St. Jude Riata Leads?
The St. Jude Riata cardiac leads are attached to the implantable battery powered cardiac defibrillators (ICD) and the heart, to monitor the heart rhythm and to release electrical shocks when abnormal and dangerous heart rhythm problems are detected.
St. Jude Riata Lead Recall
The manufacturing company stopped sales of the St. Jude Riata and Riata ST ICD leads in 2010 and issued a warning to doctors about the risk of St. Jude Riata lead insulation failure in late 2011. The FDA announced that this action was a St. Jude Riata recall in December 2011.
Scope of the St. Jude Riata Lead Problems
According to experts, more than 70,000 St. Jude Riata wires remain active in United States patients. The surgical process of removing the lead is very risky and doctors recommend keeping the recalled lead unless there the lead has failed.
The FDA issued a safety communication in response the recalled St. Jude Riata or Riata ST leads, recommending that patients have x-ray and other imaging procedures to monitor the cardiac leads.
The FDA has ordered the St. Jude company to carry out further medical studies on the risk of insulation failures, including the newer Riata ST Optim and Durata leads.