Medtronic facing federal suit from 'exploited' patients

Medtronic ($MDT) has already settled accusations it paid kickbacks to doctors to implant its defibrillators, but now the device giant faces a suit from three men who say Medtronic used deceptive business practices to saddle them with dangerous and defective products.

The three are seeking about $427,000 in actual damages and undisclosed compensatory ones, the Star-Tribune reports, and they are representing themselves in a suit they aim to make a class-action. According to the newspaper, the men allege that Medtronic knowingly distributed faulty devices and then paid doctors to implant them, leaving the plaintiffs "deceived, exploited and written off as old folks living on borrowed time," they said.

Medtronic says the suit is baseless and without merit, as it already paid out $268 million over the now-recalled Sprint Fidelis lead and all of the new claims were resolved in that litigation, the Star-Tribune reports.

In an odd turn, one of the plaintiffs operates a website,, on which he claims that members of the company's board are guilty of third-degree murder, saying they ignored the risk of death from risky devices in the interest of their profits.

That kickback scandal ended up being good news for Minnesota's U.S. Attorney's Office. Medtronic's $23.5 million bill contributed heavily to the office's $53 million haul for the fiscal year, bringing in more than four times its annual operating budget, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reports.

- read the Star-Tribune story
- here's the Business Journal story