Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP – Personal Injury Law – Defective Medical Devices and Implants

Certification of Canada-wide Class Action Litigation Regarding Certain St. Jude Defibrillators

Toronto, April 30, 2019: This class action is brought on behalf of every person resident in Canada that has been implanted with one of several specific models of the St. Jude Defibrillator (ICD). Click here to read more.

Status of the Action

The Action has been Certified as a Class Proceeding

This action was certified as a class action on April 23, 2019 with the consent of the Defendants, solely for the purpose of effecting a settlement of the action.

To learn more about how the certification order may affect your rights as a Class Member, you should review the Long Form Notice, or you may contact Class Counsel through our online portal or by telephone.

If you do not want to be included in the class action, you must exclude yourself by Opting Out by no later than Friday, July 19, 2019.  An opt out form can be downloaded here.  Do not complete this form if you wish to be in the class and participate in the settlement.

The Parties have Entered into a Settlement Agreement

The Plaintiffs have entered into a Settlement Agreement with the Defendants.  Before it is effective, the court must approve the Settlement Agreement as being fair and reasonable and in the best interests of the Class.  If approved, the Settlement will resolve all the claims asserted against the Defendants in this class action.  The Defendants continue to deny any liability to the Class.

A hearing to approve the Settlement Agreement will be held on August 1, 2019 at 10:00 am at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario. Class members are welcome to attend the hearing.

Short-Form Notice advising Class members of the certification order and the motion for settlement approval is being sent out by mail to all class members for whom St. Jude has records.

You can learn more about the proposed Settlement and how it will affect the class members by reading the Long-Form Notice.

Under the terms of the Settlement, the Defendants will pay $5,000,000 CAD in full and final settlement of all claims. Class members will need to complete and submit claim forms (to be made available after the settlement is approved) in order to claim a share of the settlement.

In general, the Settlement calls for payments to Eligible Explant Claimants of approximately $10,000, more or less, plus additional compensation for complications arising from the surgery.  Other members of the Class will receive up to either $100 or $500 depending upon when they were implanted with an affected defibrillator.  Class members may also be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses of up to $500.

The terms for the distribution of the settlement funds, including proposed shares for different class members, can be found at Schedule G of the Settlement Agreement.

Class Counsel will also be asking to have their legal fees approved

At the settlement approval hearing, Class Counsel will also seek to have their legal fees approved of up to $1,300,000, plus disbursements and taxes, and approval of an honorarium of $5,000 each for the representative plaintiffs, to be paid from the Settlement Fund.  Class Counsel have been working under a contingency fee agreement, and have not been paid since the action was commenced.

How to Exclude Yourself from the Action and Settlement

Class members who do not want to participate in the class action and the settlement may opt-out of the class action by no later than July 19, 2019 at 11:59 pm EST. An opt-out form must be completed and sent to the claims administrator at the office listed on the form prior to this time.

How to Object to the Settlement

If you wish to remain in the class action, but object to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, you may send your written objection to the attention of Class Counsel by no later than Monday, July 29, 2019.  They will file your objection with the court.  You may also attend at the settlement approval hearing and make submissions to the court in person.

Further updates will be posted as the case progresses. You may also review the case updates on the website of our co-counsel, Waddell Phillips Professional Corporation at: https://waddellphillips.ca/class-actions/st-jude-defibrillator-class-action/.

The warning signal. It’s a built-in reminder in many modern devices that a power source is getting low or a piece of machinery is in need of a tune-up. Whether it’s a flashing “low fuel” or “check engine” light on your car or a periodic beep on your smoke alarm warning of a low battery, these warning signals might be a cause for mild concern. When the device giving off a warning signal is one that literally keeps your heart beating, it becomes a matter of life, death, or serious injury.

The St. Jude implantable, battery-operated defibrillator has been a life-saver for people at risk of cardiac arrest. Some of these defibrillators have also been programmed as pacemakers to help manage irregular heart beats. While these devices are designed to help people with heart problems live normal lives, an issue involving defective batteries has struck fear into many patients, and has been linked to two known deaths worldwide.  The devices with the defective battery design include versions sold as Fortify, Fortify Assura, Quadra Assura, Quadra Assura MP, Unify, Unify Assura, and Unify Quadra prior to May 2015.  Over 8000 individuals in Canada have been implanted with one of these devices.

Tell Us About Your St. Jude Defribullator

If you have a St. Jude implantable battery-operated defibrillator and would like to speak with us you can complete our online form.

ST. JUDE DEFIBRILLATOR ONLINE FORM

The lithium batteries in these St. Jude defibrillator/pacemakers are supposed to last for more than seven years before requiring replacement. However, lithium cluster formation near the device’s cathode was causing a short circuit and rapid high current drain, prematurely causing the batteries to fail.

When a St. Jude defibrillator/pacemaker’s battery appears low, an automatic warning signal in the device tells a patient to schedule a replacement operation within three months. But the high current drain from lithium clusters can drain a battery within a few hours or a day of this warning signal, putting the patient at great risk of imminent injury or death.  Some patients may not feel the warning signal.

Having a potentially defective medical device implanted in your body may seriously reduce your quality of life, and may increase the risks associated with premature battery failure. At Howie, Sacks and Henry, our product liability and personal injury lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help victims who have had struggles with premature battery failures.

Our qualified and compassionate team will review and build your case and be a staunch advocate in your quest to receive compensation and damages.

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Among the best in Canada

Since 2011 Canadian Lawyer Magazine rated us one of the top personal injury law firms in Canada. Why? With close to 20 years helping accident victims and their families, our firm understands the laws that affect your rights to compensation because we’ve helped shape those laws in favour of accident victims.