Kennedy v. Medtronic – Case Brief Summary (Illinois)

In Kennedy v. Medtronic (Ill. App. 2006) 366 Ill. App. 3d 298, 851 N.E.2d 778, 303 Ill. Dec. 591, the decedent died following the implantation of a pacemaker and lead manufactured by Medtronic and his daughter sued Medtronic for negligence and wrongful death.

Heather Friedman, a representative of Medtronic, was present during the surgery and "provided technical support to ensure the lead parameters were correctly calibrated and the lead was functioning properly." (Id. at p. 781.)

The plaintiff argued Medtronic was liable under section 324A of the Second Restatement of Torts for breaching a duty "to assist with the insertion of the pacemaker in a reasonable manner" during the surgery. (Id. at p. 782.)

An Illinois trial court granted Medtronic's motion for summary judgment and the appellate court affirmed. (Kennedy, supra, 851 N.E.2d at p. 782.)

The Kennedy court held that Friedman's limited role in the procedure--to "provide technical support and ensure that the lead parameters were correctly calibrated and the lead was functioning properly"--"did not entail her voluntarily assuming a duty, under section 324A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, for the placement of the lead into the correct ventricle of the patient's heart." (Id. at p. 787.)