Medtronic Fails to Quash Claims Over Teen’s Diabetic Shock

WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge advanced claims Monday by a couple whose daughter has been in a persistent vegetative state for the last decade after going into diabetic shock.

Caroline Kubicki was a 19-year-old sophomore at George Washington University when her roommate awoke on Sept. 9, 2007, to find Kubicki foaming at the mouth.

Her blood sugar was precipitously low — 20 mg/dL — though Kubicki’s glucometer measured it at 77 mg/dL the night before, when she took another dose of insulin and went to bed. The hypoglycemic incident caused Kubicki to suffer a traumatic brain injury from which she has no realistic possibility of recovery.

Three years later, Kubicki’s parents sued Medtronic and an affiliate, Unomedical Devices, which manufactured the insulin pump and infusion set that Kubicki had been using since 2006 to manage her type-1 diabetes.

Both companies moved for summary judgment, but U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson found it premature in a 103-page ruling Monday to dismiss several of the claims against Medtronic.

Though Jackson did throw out several counts, and clear Unomedical all together on the basis of the statute of limitations, she concluded that four claims against Medtronic must go to expert discovery.

Noting uncertainty about whether Kubicki “was, in fact, connected to her insulin pump at the time of the hypoglycemic incident,” Jackson called summary judgment inappropriate at this time.

Though Medtronic can renew its motion for summary judgment after fact discovery, Jackson said “that genuine issues of material fact remain with respect to plaintiffs’ negligent design, manufacture, labeling, and failure to warn consumers claims relating to the MMT-396 Infusion Set, and that there are also triable issues of fact with respect to causation — at least for now.”

Michelle Parfitt, an attorney for the Kubickis with Ashcroft and Gerel, has not returned a phone call seeking comment.

Representatives for Medtronic were not able to provide comment by press time.

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