For some reason, just as pharmaceutical manufacturing is concentrated in New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, and just as there are an abnormal number of Class II implant manufacturers in Indiana, the epicenter of American pre-market approved medical device manufacturing seems to be in Minnesota.
Similarly, preemption is at the epicenter of medical device product liability litigation involving PMA devices.
Since plaintiffs are able to avoid federal court through the simple stratagem of suing defendants (all defendants, not just medical device manufacturers) in their “home” courts, we have been wondering how PMA preemption would fare in Minnesota state court. Minnesota already has a relatively expansive consumer protection statute and (until recently) an extremely long (six-year) statute of limitations for personal injury cases. If there were also an indication that Minnesota courts would view PMA preemption in a pro-plaintiff fashion, we could see Philadelphia-style influx of litigation tourism.
Fortunately that doesn’t appear to be in the offing. A couple of years ago, Medtronic scored big with In re Medtronic Sprint Fidelis Leads State Court Litigation, 2009 WL 3417867 (Minn. Dist. Hennepin Co. Oct. 20, 2009), which as we discussed at the time, adopted just about all the pro-preemption holdings in In re Medtronic Sprint Fidelis Leads Products Liability Litigation, 592 F. Supp.2d 1147 (D. Minn. 2009), aff’d, 623 F.3d 1200 (8th Cir. Oct 15, 2010). There were a lot of good holdings, which we gloated over here.
Still, Sprint Fidelis was just a county-level trial court. The Sprint Fidelis plaintiffs chose not to take their chances on appeal. One bad decision from the Court of Appeals of Minnesota could wipe everything out.
Or, conversely, one good appellate decision could cement everything in place and send the litigation tourists scurrying elsewhere.
Fortunately, the latter happened the other day. See Lamere v. St. Jude Medical, Inc., ___ N.W.2d ___, 2013 WL 599178, slip op. (Minn. App. Feb 19, 2013). Lamere involved a Class III PMA approved mechanical heart valve, and the court affirmed summary judgment on the basis of preemption. Not even the Public Citizen Litigation Group (probably the other side’s biggest guns on preemption) could sway the result in Lamere.
Continue Reading Preemption in the Land of 10,000 Medical Devices