Medtronic MiniMed, a diabetes management app, is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court over its previous use of tracker tools in its InPen app.
The key legal issue here is a massive privacy violation.
The lawsuit alleges that Medtronic MiniMed violated patient privacy by using tracking and authentication technologies such as Google Analytics and Firebase in its app and services.
The use of these technologies allowed the company to collect and share user data with third-party companies, including Google. The lawsuit claims that the company did not obtain proper consent from users before collecting and sharing their data.
A deeper dive into the legal issues surrounding the privacy violation in the proposed class-action lawsuit against Medtronic MiniMed reveal how bad this could potentially be for the company.
Violation of Privacy Laws
The lawsuit alleges that Medtronic MiniMed violated patient privacy by using tracking and authentication technologies such as Google Analytics and Firebase in its app and services. The use of these technologies allowed the company to collect and share user data with third-party companies, including Google. The lawsuit claims that the company did not obtain proper consent from users before collecting and sharing their data. This is a violation of privacy laws that protect users’ personal information.
Failure to Disclose Data Collection
The lawsuit also alleges that Medtronic MiniMed failed to disclose its use of tracking and authentication technologies to users. Users were not informed that their data was being collected and shared with third-party companies. This lack of transparency is a violation of privacy laws that require companies to disclose their data collection practices.
Unauthorized Data Sharing
The lawsuit claims that Medtronic MiniMed shared user data with third-party companies without obtaining proper consent from users. This unauthorized data sharing is a violation of privacy laws that protect users’ personal information.
Potential Harm to Users
The unauthorized data sharing and lack of transparency can potentially harm users. Users may not be aware that their personal information is being shared with third-party companies, which can lead to identity theft and other forms of fraud. This potential harm to users is a violation of privacy laws that require companies to protect users’ personal information.
Other legal issues to be aware of in the Medtronic lawsuit include:
It Is a Class-Action Lawsuit
As Florida catastrophic injury lawyer Greg Yaffa observes, “The Medtronic lawsuit is a proposed class-action lawsuit, which means that it is filed on behalf of a group of people who have been affected by the alleged privacy violation.”
Specifically, as Yaffa explains, “This lawsuit seeks compensation for the affected users and asks the court to order Medtronic MiniMed to stop using tracking and authentication technologies in its app and services.”
The Role of Legal Precedent in Medical Device Recalls
This lawsuit is not the first time Medtronic MiniMed has faced legal action. In 2022, the company was sued for failing to disclose problems with its MiniMed 780G insulin pump.
In May 2023, the FDA classified this action as a Class I recall, the most serious kind of recall for medical devices, for Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps. This recall may be relevant to the current case as it shows that the company has faced issues with its medical devices in the past.
In July 2023, the company was sued over the death of a man with Type 1 diabetes who used a Medtronic MiniMed 630G insulin pump to manage his condition. How the courts handled the legal issues in these earlier lawsuits may set a legal precedent in the current case.
All in all, this case is a very bad look for Medtronic. Given how vulnerable users’ personal information has been because of this privacy breach, the potential damage to the Medtronic brand could be beyond repair.
Medical companies always like to use the patient benefit equation – while we may not have entirely protected the data you shared with us, a bigger benefit flowed to you through using our device. But that’s going to be a tough sell for Medtronic here, especially if this case ever ends up before a jury.
A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the chief legal analyst for Esquire Digital and Today’s Esquire. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Fast Company, Fortune, Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, Today’s Esquire, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, The Boston Globe, and many other leading publications across the globe.