Inferior vena cava filter (IVC filter) lawsuits claim the devices injured people. Patients say their IVC filters broke and moved. Some caused tissue and organ perforation. Others caused clots, which the filters are designed to prevent. Plaintiffs say manufacturers like C.R. Bard did not warn them of these problems. At least 17,000 lawsuits have been filed against various IVC filter makers. One verdict awarded $3.6 million to a woman injured by an IVC filter.
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 alleged defects in the design of a variety of retrievable IVC filters. These medical device lawsuits have named a number of complications including:
- Organ damage
- Organ perforation
- Blood clot
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Pulmonary embolism (PE)
- Filter migration
- Device fracture
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. As a result, plaintiffs claim that the companies are liable for the harm done to them or their loved ones.
Manufacturers Facing IVC Filter Lawsuits
Currently, more than 14,000 lawsuits are pending against these IVC filter manufacturers. The majority are filed against C. R. Bard and Cook Medical.
Current IVC Filter Litigation
Thousands of people have filed IVC filter lawsuits against C. R. Bard, claiming the company's IVC filters cause injuries. Among other wrongful actions, negligence is the most serious accusation leveled against Bard, with evidence showing that the company likely knew about the risks of its Recovery filter before bringing it to market.
In 2016, plaintiffs with existing filter implants filed a lawsuit seeking class-action certification. Their cases were consolidated via multidistrict litigation (MDL), forming MDL 2641. Judge David C. Campbell oversees this federal court case. As of May 2020, there are 2,085 actions pending in the C. R. Bard MDL. Bellwether trials are still underway.
In 2003, the United States Food and Drug Administration (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. 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. As of May 2020, there are more than 7,200 cases pending in the Cook IVC Filter MDL, alleging defective design, misrepresentation, and failure to warn doctors and patients.
IVC Filter Settlements and Verdicts
Companies whose IVC filters have been the subject of many negligence claims resulted in thousands of lawsuits, with C. R. Bard and Cook accounting for more than 5,500 lawsuits each due to issues with their devices. Below are some notable cases against the companies.
C. R. Bard Lawsuits
Sherr-Una Booker - Arizona: Sherr-Una Booker had her Bard IVC filter implanted in 2007. Two years later, a radiologist noticed fragments of the IVC filter in her heart and spine, indicating a filter fracture. A federal jury in Phoenix awarded Booker $3.6 million after her IVC filter fractured, resulting in open heart surgery to remove the pieces. Booker's case was the first of many IVC filter liability litigations against Bard. The plaintiff was awarded $2 million in damages, in addition to $1.6 million in punitive damages as a result of the verdict in March 2018.
Lisa Davis - Michigan: 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.
Kelly and Chris Vlasvich - Illinois: 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 Bard G2 filter fractured in 2011, damaging her heart and lungs. The parties filed a stipulation of dismissal in 2015 and the case was closed.
Lisa and Mark Hyde - Arizona: As the third bellwether trial, Lisa and Mark Hyde filed a lawsuit against C. R. Bard after Lisa Hyde's IVC filter implant tilted and fractured. Hyde's claim to receive compensation for future arrhythmia damages was tossed due to a law in Wisconsin, where Hyde's IVC filter was implanted. Judge Campbell of the U.S. District Court of Arizona ruled that the law states that "future injuries and medical care must be established by a medical probability, not a mere possibility." Ultimately, the jury found for Bard in October 2018.
Cook Medical Lawsuits
Elizabeth Hill - Florida: 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 in November 2017. This was the first bellwether case against Cook.
Arthur Gage - Indiana: In this second bellwether action, this case 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.
Greenfield Filter Lawsuit
The Family of Cinthia K. Ratliff - Ohio: Boston Scientific, another company that manufactures IVC filters, was hit with a wrongful death lawsuit in 2015 after its Greenfield vena cava filter allegedly caused severe injuries that led to the death of Ratliff. 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.
IVC Filter Lawsuit FAQ's
Am I Eligible to File an IVC Filter Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has experienced complications as a result of an IVC filter, you may be able to file a claim. It's important to consider your legal options as soon as possible, as each state has its own statute of limitations for these types of claims.
What Compensation is Eligible for IVC Filter Lawsuits?
The amount of compensation you can receive for an IVC filter case depends on a variety of factors, such as:
- The duration and severity of your complications
- The costs of treatments or surgeries
- Lost income as a result of complications
- Whether the device led to temporary or permanent disability
- Loss of consortium or companionship
How Can I Pay for an IVC Filter Lawyer?
You can file a lawsuit on a contingency basis, so you will only be required to pay legal fees if your case is successful.