A class action has been filed alleging that cracks in the hermetic seal of cochlear hearing implants allow bodily fluid to seep in, causing the devices to fail. The devices are surgically implanted in a patient’s head and, together with an external behind-the-ear device, send electrical energy to a patient’s hearing nerves to produce sound. The Cochlear CI500 series implants were pulled from the market in a global recall in September of last year.

Scott A. Morgan, the Chicago-based lawyer who filed the class action, believes that approximately 25,000 devices have been implanted in patients, but he declined to estimate how big the class will be. The device is made by Australian company Cochlear Limited. The named Plaintiff in the suit, filed on April 18 in Illinois federal court, is Wyle Wade, father of a two-year-old daughter, K.W., who had a cochlear device implanted behind each ear at an out-of-pocket cost of $75,000.

The suit alleges strict product liability, negligence and breach of warranty. It seeks damages for the cost of the implants, then for removing them and replacing them with older models that did not have cracks, as well as punitive damages. The suit also asks for medical monitoring for Plaintiffs who have been implanted with the recalled devices. The Plaintiffs lived in India when the devices were implanted and service of the complaint is being made through The Hague.

An individual lawsuit against a different manufacturer, Advanced Bionics, alleges similar problems with its implant, the HiRes 90k implant. That suit, brought by the parents of Breanna Sadler, was filed in federal court in Kentucky. It alleges the child had to undergo risky open-head surgery to remove a defective implant that took in moisture. The action for product liability, negligence and fraud seeks $3 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitives.

Source: Lawyers USA online

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