First St. Jude Riata Bellwether Trial Scheduled for February 2015

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Sacramento attorney Brooks Cutter has been and will continue to be heavily involved with the proceedings leading up to the recently announced California bellwether trials

The first St. Jude Riata Bellwether trial has been scheduled for February 3, 2015. Attorney Brooks Cutter of Cutter Law, the Sacramento-based personal injury firm, has been and will continue to be heavily involved with the proceedings leading up to the recently announced bellwether trials.

According to a Scheduling Order filed on January 24, 2014 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division, Plaintiffs Calise and Thompson have been chosen as the bellwether cases (Case 8:13-cv-00383-JVS-AN). The Order, which was issued by the Honorable James V. Selna, also indicated that the pre-trial conference date in set for January 12, 2015 and fact discovery will remain open until October 21, 2014.

According to a Joint Status Conference report dated February 24, 2014 (Case No. BC504934, Superior Court of the State of California City and County of Los Angeles), St. Jude’s Riata defibrillator leads are allegedly defective because they have a tendency to fracture and malfunction. The Riata Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Lead was recalled on November 28, 2011 due to premature erosion of the insulation around the electrical conductor wires, known as insulation failure. According to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety Communication, devices deliver electrical current to an implanted cardiac defibrillator, and if the lead fails, then serious consequences may occur.

The Plaintiffs chosen for the Bellwether cases are described in the Order Denying Defendant’s Motions to Dismiss and Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant’s Motions to Strike (Case 8:13-cv-00383-JVS-AN, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California). Plaintiff Michael Thompson was implanted with the Riata lead in 2004 and, in 2012, his doctor informed him that the wire was failing and needed to be replaced. The lead was removed through a laser abstraction on June 18, 2012. Mr. Thompson alleges that he suffered injuries as a result of the defective lead, including damages related to multiple fluoroscopy procedures, extrusion of the conductor, compromised lead insulation, increased lead impedance and electrical abnormalities.

The other Plaintiffs are Paul and Rose Calise, with Rose Calise being the Representative of the Estate of Daniel Calise. Daniel Calise received a Riata lead on December 13, 2005. He suffered cardiopulmonary arrest and died on September 6, 2011, allegedly due to the failure of his Riata lead. Following his death, the Riata lead was found to be abraded, and Plaintiffs allege that the abrasion caused his death.

As noted in the FDA Safety Communication, according to St. Jude Medical, as of 2011, approximately 79,000 Riata leads remained implanted in US patients.

Cutter Law is a Sacramento-based civil justice and personal injury law firm that represents clients throughout California and nationwide. We are dedicated in fighting for victims that have been injured by St. Jude Riata leads. We offer free, confidential case reviews. For more information, please visit our website or give us a call Toll Free (855) 767-7699.

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Karlee Cemo
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