2018 IVC Filters Trial News: Bellwether trials for IVC filter lawsuits are currently underway, with over 6,000 lawsuits still pending. If you have experienced side effects from an IVC filter, talk to a lawyer about your options.
IVC filters were designed to prevent life-threatening blood clots in the lungs, known as pulmonary embolisms. Since 2005, however, hundreds of reports of severe IVC filter complications have been filed with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
These problems typically involve device migrations, filter fractures, perforation, embolization, and/or movement of the entire device or fragments to the heart and lungs. As a result, many lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of these devices.
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Why People File IVC Filter Lawsuits
IVC filter lawsuits typically claim the adverse events associated with the devices are due to one or more of the following reasons:
- Design and manufacturing defects
- Failure to warn consumers of known risks
- Breach of implied warranty on the medical device
- Negligence on the part of the manufacturing and/or marketing company
Patients have experienced a number of complications from defects in the design of a variety of retrievable IVC filters. Complications including organ damage or perforation, blood clots, device migration or device fracture have been commonly named in these lawsuits.
Several manufacturers and brands of IVC filters have been subject to individual and class-action lawsuits because of the devices’ failure or complications. According to court documents, each of these companies knew their products were defective but continued to sell them without informing doctors and patients of the risks.
Manufacturers Facing IVC Filter Lawsuits
Currently, more than 6,000 lawsuits are pending against these manufacturers, with the majority filed against C.R. Bard and Cook Medical.
C. R. Bard IVC Filter Lawsuits
Thousands of people partnered with an IVC filter lawyer to file lawsuits against C.R. Bard, claiming the company’s IVC filters cause injuries.
Among other wrongful actions, negligence is the most serious accusation levelled against Bard, with evidence showing that the company likely knew about the risks of its Recovery filter before bringing it to market. Veteran regulatory specialist Kay Fuller recognized and expressed concerns about the filter’s safety when she was hired by Bard to help gain the filter’s FDA clearance, which was initially denied in 2002. After reviewing data from the clinical trials, she refused to sign the clearance request, yet her signature appeared on the application. When shown a copy of the document by NBC News during their investigation of Bard’s IVC filter, Fuller confirmed that it was not her signature.
Shortly after the launch of the Recovery, Bard began receiving complaints of device malfunctions. The company hired Dr. John Lehmann, an independent consultant, to conduct a study. Lehmann found that the Recovery had higher complication rates than its competitors. While Bard attempted to keep the findings under wraps, the report became public during IVC filter litigations. Bard argued and sustained confidentiality under the work-product doctrine in anticipation of future litigation, but the damage was already done.
After 27 deaths and hundreds of reported complaints, Bard eventually replaced the Recovery with a modified version, the G2 series, which had similar potentially fatal defects. During its investigation, NBC News obtained confidential company reports revealing that Bard was concerned about reports of G2 series device failures, but still kept them on the market for a further five years, only removing them in 2010.
At least 12 deaths and hundreds of injuries are linked to the G2 series filters. Bard has already settled a number of IVC filter lawsuits. Over 1,630 cases are still pending.
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C. R. Bard IVC Filter Settlements
C. R. Bard has offered settlements to a number of individuals who sued them for defective or problematic IVC filters. The majority of these cases have not disclosed the settlement amounts.
2011: Lisa Davis filed a lawsuit against Bard in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division. After being implanted with a G2 series filter in 2006, the device fractured and migrated to Davis’ heart in 2008, causing ongoing heart issues. Her lawyer notified the judge in 2013 that a settlement was reached.
2013: Kelly and Chris Vlasvich filed a lawsuit against C.R. Bard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Kelly Vlasvich’s implanted G2 filter fractured in 2011, damaging her heart and lungs. The parties filed a stipulation of dismissal in 2015 and the case was closed.
2015: C.R. Bard settled a case after just 10 days. The case was brought by Kevin Philips in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada after his Recovery IVC filter perforated his heart.
C. R. Bard Class Action IVC Filter Lawsuits
Currently, there are at least three pending class-action IVC filter lawsuits against C.R.Bard in California, Pennsylvania, and Florida. These suits each argue that although some Recovery, G2, and G2 Express filters didn’t fracture or migrate, the plaintiffs are entitled to medical monitoring due to the company’s negligence and concealment of data.
In 2012, the Florida class-action suit was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. More than 100 plaintiffs seek over $5 million in compensation. In 2015, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all federal cases against Bard to be centralized in the Southern District of Arizona under MDL-2641. At that time, 22 actions were filed in 16 courts.
In 2016, plaintiffs with existing filter implants filed a lawsuit seeking class-action certification, which was transferred to the MDL. As of March 2018, 3,639 actions are pending, with bellwether trials currently underway.
C.R. Bard MDL and Bellwether Trials
When cases are transferred to an MDL, a judge may begin the process with bellwether trials to essentially act as a practice run for the larger group of lawsuits. On March 30, the first bellwether trial for C.R. Bard was held in Phoenix, Arizona. The plaintiff in this case, Sherr-Una Booker, faced complications after receiving the Bard G2 IVC filter in 2007.
Booker suffered from migration of her device and fragments of the device fracturing off, which caused it to perforate her inferior vena cava. As a result, Booker had to undergo heart surgery to correct the damages. The federal jury in the case ultimately decided to hold C.R. Bard liable for selling a defective device. Booker was awarded $1.6 million in compensatory damages and an additional $2 million in punitive damages, for a verdict of $3.6 million.
Three other bellwether trials are currently scheduled for May, September and November 2018.
Cook Medical IVC Filter Lawsuit
In 2003, the FDA approved the Cook Gunther Tulip IVC filter for permanent and temporary placement. Cook introduced the Celect vena cava filter in 2008, with FDA clearance following trials in other countries. Celect was intended to be an improved version of the Gunther Tulip, but both devices have been at the center of numerous adverse event reports submitted to the FDA.
After 27 actions in 11 districts alleged that Cook’s IVC filters caused injury, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated them into MDL 2570 in the Southern District of Indiana. When the number of actions continued to grow in 2015, pretrial proceedings moved forward, with the first bellwether cases selected in 2016.
The bellwether trials for Cook Medical have already been completed. The first trial, Hill v. Cook Medical, was completed in November 2017. The plaintiff, Elizabeth Hill, had the Cook Celect IVC filter implanted in 2010, later suffering from varying complications of pain and fatigue. She alleged the blood clot filter had to be surgically removed three years later after it was found to have perforated her IVC and the duodenum of her small intestine. Ultimately, the jury found her evidence to be thin and the case resulted in a defense verdict.
The second bellwether case, Gage v. Cook Medical, was ultimately dismissed after Judge Young ruled the claim to be untimely. Gage’s lawsuit was the only bellwether trial against the Günther Tulip filter. Cook Medical was vocal about the decision, stating they would vigorously continue to defend their products in future trials.
The next bellwether trial is scheduled for September 2018, with a claim from Tonya Brand who experienced severe complications from the manufacturer’s Celect filter. As of March 2018, 3,826 cases are pending in the MDL, alleging defective design, misrepresentation, and failure to warn doctors and patients.
Greenfield Filter Lawsuit
Boston Scientific, another company that manufactures IVC filters, was hit with a wrongful death lawsuit in 2015 after the family of Cinthia K. Ratliff alleged its Greenfield vena cava filter caused severe injuries that led to her death. According to the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, design defects caused the device to fail and perforate Ratliff’s vena cava, resulting in the severe internal bleeding from which she died in 2013. The autopsy report confirmed the allegation, listing the cause of death as “perforation of inferior vena cava by greenfield filter with retroperitoneal hemorrhage.”
The case was dismissed in March 2017 when a settlement agreement was reached.
Filing an IVC Filter Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has experienced complications as a result of an IVC filter, you may be entitled to file a claim. It’s important to talk with an experienced attorney as soon as possible, as each state has their own statute of limitations for these types of claims.
Many attorneys who specialize in this area of the law will provide a free case review to determine your eligibility and options. Your lawsuit will also likely be taken on a contingency basis, so you will only be required to pay your lawyer if your case is successful.
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