Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Goldman Ismail Win of Summary Judgment for Medtronic, Inc.

On June 3, 2021, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed a decision dismissing all claims brought against Medtronic, Inc. and two of its field representatives in the Circuit Court of Sangamon County. Cleeton v. SIU Healthcare, Inc., et al., 2021 IL App (4th) 200490-U (June 3, 2021). The appellate ruling cemented Goldman Ismail’s August 2020 summary-judgment victory in the matter.

In a 23-page decision, the Appellate Court confirmed that Medtronic’s field representatives had no duty, nor did they assume a duty, to intervene in a patient's medical care and override the treatment decisions of the patient's healthcare providers. The Court reasoned that Plaintiff’s claims “would require a medical device sales representative with no medical training to volunteer theories about the cause of the patient’s symptoms and thus intervene in the patient’s treatment,” an outcome that would run contrary to Illinois law. Id. at ¶ 46. The Court further held that Plaintiff's failure-to-warn claim was expressly preempted under 21 U.S.C. § 360k(a) and Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc., 552 U.S. 312 (2008), reasoning that the claim “suggests the label approved by the [FDA] was insufficient, or, stated differently, that additional warnings were required,” thus triggering preemption. Id. at ¶ 34.

A Goldman Ismail team led by partners Joe Tomaselli and Rami Fakhouri secured Medtronic’s victory in the trial court. The team then advised on Medtronic’s representation before the Appellate Court. Also assisting on this case were associates Michael Casner and Betsy Farrington.