(Angleton, Texas) – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Six days after the Indianapolis-based Guidant Corporation recalled 29,000 defibrillators under pressure from the federal Food and Drug Administration, a Plano, Texas, man is suing the company. 58-year-old Larry Hardin claims Guidant sold the older version even though the company had fixed the problem in a newer version. The defibrillator implanted in his chest is an older version – with a defect that could cause it to short-circuit when it is needed.
In a suit filed today in the 239th State District Court in Brazoria County, Hardin, who has had two triple bypass surgeries and is awaiting a heart transplant, claims that Guidant knew that the Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861 ICD implantable defibrillator sold to him was a seriously flawed older version. Hardin claims that Guidant had a newer version of the same type unit that was not prone to short-circuit but continued to allow the older units to be implanted in unsuspecting patients. “At the time of his surgery a Guidant representative told Hardin’s wife, Charlotte, that the older unit was the ‘top of the line,’” says Robert Hilliard, Mr. Hardin’s attorney and a name partner in Corpus Christi’s Hilliard & Munoz, L.L.P., “when actually it was defective, the company was aware of the defect and just wanted to sell their remaining inventory, defect and all.”
Hardin’s lawsuit requests that Guidant provide and pay for medical tests to monitor whether his defibrillator is still working and, if it is not, to cover the costs of having it removed. “Larry’s heart is already weak and now having to decide whether to have another surgery is difficult,” says Larry’s wife, Charlotte Hardin.
“Mr. Hardin and his wife, Charlotte, are facing a Hobson’s choice: wait to see if his defibrillator will save him or kill him,” says Hilliard, whose firm currently represents patients with claims against Guidant for these defective defibrillators. “Mr. Hardin must now lay awake at night knowing that the Guidant defibrillator implanted deep in his chest may not save him after all.”
Mr. Hardin’s lawsuit also names as defendants Guidant Sales Corporation, Guidant Puerto Rico Sales Corporation, Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc., Aramark Healthcare Support Services, Inc., Medical Center of Plano (where Mr. Hardin’s defibrillator was implanted in August 2002), and J. Brian DeVille, M.D. (Mr. Hardin’s physician). Mr. Hardin claims that Medical Center of Plano and Dr. DeVille knew or should have known that the defibrillator was defective. The lawsuit also alleges a conspiracy between the various Guidant Defendants.
“Instead of providing a life-saving medical device, Guidant knowingly implanted a hand grenade in as many as 37,000 patients, many of whom, like Mr. Hardin, may not be well enough to survive the necessary surgery to replace the device,” Mr. Hilliard explains. “In fact, before the recall, Guidant recommended that people like Mr. Hardin keep the device inside of them. This company is glad to gamble with Mr. Hardin’s life as long as they can make huge profits.”
Mr. Hardin is seeking damages for battery, breach of fiduciary duty, products liability, breach of warranty, fraud, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.