More than 1,500 lawsuits are pending around the country against the manufacturers of retrievable IVC filters, with Plaintiffs alleging that they were seriously injured by the devices. Removable IVC filters are cage-like wire devices placed in the inferior vena cava, a large vein that carries blood from the lower body back to the heart. The filters are designed to stop blood clots that form in the legs from reaching the heart and lungs, and are used in patients who cannot take blood thinners like Coumadin.

Permanent IVC filters have been in use since the 1960s with few complications. However, retrievable IVC filters have a high rate of failure. Potential complications from retrievable IVC filters include device fracture, migration, and perforation of the inferior vena cava, which can lead to embolism, organ damage, and death.

Litigation is moving forward against the manufacturers of these devices. Cases involving Cordis IVC filters are consolidated in California state court, while Bard and Cook Medical IVC filter cases each have a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in federal court.

The Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2461) is pending in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, in front of Judge David Campbell. The Bard MDL is currently in the process of selecting its first bellwether case. The bellwether process involves taking to trial a small number of representative cases. After those cases are tried or settled, the process is repeated until an overall resolution of all of the claims can be reached in some manner.

The Bard MDL started with a group of 48 cases – 24 chosen by Plaintiffs’ counsel and 24 chosen by Defense lawyers. This group will be narrowed down to six cases in April. The first of these cases will go to trial in the fall of 2017. The Court has indicated that other bellwether cases may go to trial before the end of this year.

The bellwether process is also underway in the Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters MDL. Three cases are currently being prepared for trial. Lawyers are taking depositions of Plaintiffs, treating physicians, and other fact witnesses, including sales representatives who visited the Plaintiffs’ doctors, as well as expert witnesses. The first trial is expected to begin on Oct. 23, 2017, with another trial to follow in May 2018.

Beasley Allen lawyers continue to investigate cases involving injuries caused by retrievable IVC filters. For more information, contact Melissa Prickett or Liz Eiland, lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or Melissa.Prickett@beasleyallen.com or Liz.Eiland@beasleyallen.com.

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