The family of an Orange man who died after a cardiac defibrillator implant have sued the manufacturer, alleging the device was defective.

Patsy Roberts, individually and on behalf of the estate of the deceased Joseph Roberts, filed the wrongful death suit on April 18 in Jefferson County District Court. The suit names Boston Scientific, formerly known as Guidant Corp., Guidant Sales Corp. and Guidant Puerto Rico Sales Corp. as defendants.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on Oct. 26, 2000, Joseph Roberts received an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. An ICD is an electronic device that constantly monitors a patient's heart rate and rhythm. When it detects a very fast, abnormal heart rhythm, it delivers energy to the heart muscle, which causes the heart to beat in a normal rhythm again.

Roberts' ICD was a Medtronic InSync Sentry defibrillator with Guidant leads.

On Nov. 21, 2005, Roberts was admitted to Memorial Hermann Baptist Beaumont Hospital to receive an upgrade to a Vitality 2 biventricular automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. The suit states that Roberts remained hospitalized until Dec. 5, 2005, when he was transferred to Orange Continued Care Hospital, where he died on Dec. 11, 2005.

Plaintiff Patsy Roberts states she became aware in April 2007 that the Vitality 2 had been recalled by Boston Scientific, which had merged with Guidant in 2006.

"Because the InSync Sentry was defective and unreasonably dangerous, Roberts' physicians upgraded him to the Vitality 2, which was also subsequently recalled as being defective and unreasonably dangerous," the original complaint states.

The suit alleges that Guidant Sales conspired with Boston Scientific to "conceal the fact that the defibrillators in question contained a defect which has caused a number of the devices to short circuit and malfunction."

The plaintiff claims that defendants are liable under the theory of strict products liability and that the products were defectively designed, manufactured and/or marketed and were the proximate cause of the plaintiff's damages.

Other allegations against defendants include:

  • Negligence;
  • Gross negligence;
  • Negligent misrepresentation;
  • Misrepresentation;
  • Fraud;
  • Breach of continuing duty to warn;
  • Breach of express warranties;
  • Breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose;
  • Breach of implied warranty of merchantability; and
  • Violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act

    The plaintiff is seeking damages for loss of consortium, society and affection, grief, bereavement, funeral and burial expenses and damages for the pain, suffering and mental anguish experienced by Joseph Roberts until he died. She is also asking that a jury award exemplary damages.

    Clay Dugas of Beaumont is representing the plaintiff.

    The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

    Case No. D181-619

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