Boston Scientific Agrees to Patients' Settlement Hike in Defibrillator Lawsuit

The co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs' Steering Committee in the Guidant medical device litigation announced today that an amended settlement agreement has been obtained on behalf of 8,550 patient plaintiffs who asserted claims against Guidant Corp., Boston Scientific Corp., and other entities. The plaintiffs had claimed that defendants knowingly sold them inherently defective defibrillator devices with potential life-threatening defects over a period of three years. Some of the problems involved wiring flaws that could prevent a defibrillator from delivering a shock to jump-start a suddenly failing heart and restore a healthy rhythm.

The amended settlement expands a prior agreement obtained in July, which had provided for a recovery of $195 million to settle more than 5,600 claims. After additional injured patients stepped forward, the agreement was amended to provide up to $240 million in compensation. Proceedings in state court in Minnesota have been stayed because of the expanded settlement, reached in mediation conducted before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan in Minneapolis over a 15-month period.

Charles S. Zimmerman, co-lead attorney for the plaintiffs' Steering Committee, said, "This amended agreement is great news for the patient plaintiffs and will provide them and their families with substantial relief. Beyond this, the settlement serves the public good by highlighting that transparency and full and proper disclosure are paramount to the public and to those regulatory bodies entrusted to protect the public's interests, particularly in the areas of public health and safety. It also highlights the need for continued and stronger regulatory oversight of companies that are in the business of manufacturing and selling life-saving devices to consumers. We believe that with these results, the settlement truly benefits all parties."

Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific, which acquired Guidant in April 2006 for $27 billion, said it believes the expanded agreement covers "substantially all" U.S. cases arising from the recalls and warnings.

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