Court: Man can't sue Medtronic for his paraplegia

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An Arizona man can't sue Medtronic ($MDT) under state law for injuries allegedly caused by a pain pump, according to a federal court ruling. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court upheld a ruling that states that Richard Stengel, who is now a paraplegic, can't sue the device giant because his claims are preempted by federal law, according to a Cronkite News Service story. In his strong dissent, Judge John Noonan wrote that courts have apparently left "individuals injured by the malfunction of such devices without remedy against the manufacturers," the story notes. Stengel began using the Medtronic pump, which has since been recalled, in 2000. It delivered pain drugs through a spinal catheter. Stengel said he began developing symptoms of paralysis in 2005 that were subsequently connected to a granuloma--an inflammation in the spine--that sprang up near the catheter tip. Despite removal of both the device and granuloma, the court noted, Stengel became paraplegic. Story