Litigation Moving Forward in Two IVC Blood-Clot Filter MDLs

Lawsuits involving alleged harm to patients from IVC blood clot filters are moving forward in two courts.

U.S. District Judge David Campbell of Arizona issued a case management order covering the selection of bellwether cases. These representative cases will be chosen from the more than 520 cases consolidated in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) to be the first to go to trial, Lawyersandsettlements.com reports. Plaintiff in these cases say they were injured or have been put at risk for injury by defective IVC filters.

Judge Campbell set a deadline of March 1, 2017 for the two sides to select bellwether cases. The outcome of bellwether trials give both sides an idea of the arguments the other side will make and provide insight into how juries will view the evidence.

The cases filed against C.R. Bard and Cook Medical claim the IVC two companies made IVC filters made by Cook and Bard were defective and put patients at risk for serious complications. IVC filters are implanted in the inferior vena cava—the body’s largest vein—to prevent blood clots from traveling from the lower body to the heart and lungs. IVC filters are used for patients who are unable to take blood-thinning drugs or for whom blood thinngers do not work well.

Plaintiffs in the IVC filter lawsuits say the filters have a risk of moving from the original location, breaking, or perforating the vein. Patients say parts of the filter have become embedded in the vein or an organ and the pieces have caused pulmonary embolisms. The filters or the pieces can be difficult or dangerous to remove. Patients have experienced severe pain, bleeding, further clots, and other life-threatening complications.

Most IVC filters are intended to be removed after the danger of clots has passed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that removable filters be retrieved within 29 to 54 days of implantation. But the FDA says many filters are left in place far longer, putting the patients at risk for filter breakage and migration. A lengthy NBC News investigation reported 25 deaths and 300 injuries linked to Bard’s Recovery filter over ten years.

According to NBC, injuries and deaths began to emerge soon after the Recovery filter came to market in 2002, but Bard did not recall the Recovery filter. Those filters remained on the market until 2005, when they were replaced with the similar G2 filter series. Bard’s internal records and hundreds of reports to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicate that the G2 filter series did not solve the problems. G2 filters were on the market until 2010.

The MDL involving Cook Medical IVC filters has been consolidated in the Southern District of Indiana, with trial dates expected in September 2016. Pretrial proceedings in the Cook MDL are being overseen by Judge Richard L. Young and Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker.

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