Andrey Burin Mar. 30, 2015, 7:27am


NEW ORLEANS – A man who underwent a spinal surgery in order to insert a cervical plate is suing the firm that manufactured and sold the implant after it allegedly fractured in half two months after surgery for no apparent reason.

James E. Wells filed suit against Medtronic Inc. and Medtronic USA Inc. in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Feb. 10, 2015.

The plaintiff asserts that on May 23, 2014, he underwent anterior cervical spine surgery at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans and received a cervical plate implant using a Medtronic product system. Wells states that he returned to see his physician approximately seven weeks after surgery, at which time x-rays showed that the Medtronic device had fractured in half despite the usage of a protective collar and no intervening trauma.

The defendant is accused of negligence in the making, manufacturing, designing, and promoting without due care an unsafe and inherently dangerous instrument. The plaintiff also alleges that the device deviated from specifications and performance standards of the product and that this could have been detected and avoided by exercises of reasonable care. The plaintiff claims that he has had to undergo subsequent surgery and risks and complications thereof, as well as progressive pain and difficulty swallowing.

The plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount in damages for medical bills, past and present pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of earning capacity.

The plaintiff is represented by H. Carson McKowen of Thibodaux-based Ardoin, McKowen & Ory LLC and Richard A. Thalheim Jr. of Thibodaux-based Thalheim Ltd.

This case has been assigned to Division L Judge Kern A. Reese.

Case no. 2015-01243.

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