Kennedy: Congress should act after Medtronic

Could a congressional response to today’s decision in Riegel v. Medtronic be on the way?

Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, hinted at that today in his statement in response to the case.

“In enacting legislation on medical devices, Congress never intended that FDA approval would give blanket immunity to manufacturers from liability for injuries caused by faulty devices,” Kennedy said. “Congress obviously needs to correct the court’s decision. Otherwise, FDA approval will become a green light for shoddy practices by manufacturers.”

Last year, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 127 S. Ct. 2162, declining to restart the statute each time a paycheck reflecting the alleged unequal pay is issued, Kennedy and a host of other sponsors including Sen. Hillary Clinton filed a bill seeking to overturn the decision. The legislation would give employees 180 days after the date of the last affected paycheck to file a claim.

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