History of IVC Filter Class Action Lawsuits

When products do not perform as promised, when they break, malfunction and cause harm to the user, our legal system offers a method for pursing fair compensation for damage claims related to that harm. Personal Injury lawsuits have been the choice of millions of people who have been harmed by defective products.

In cases where there are multiple plaintiffs, the court system may create a class action process that allows all plaintiffs to come together in one large legal action. Awards can be very high, and payment is made to all participants. In recent years, class action lawsuits have been created in several states in the United States to serve persons who were injured or had loved ones die when an IVC Filter was implanted as part of their medical care.

IVC Filter

The concept behind development of IVC Filters is good, and they have helped many patients deal with blood clotting problems. Creating some type of barrier that can be used within a large vein to trap blood clots is a concept first thought of back in 1865. During the 1930s, a common procedure to combat blood clots was vein ligation, cutting the clot out during a surgical procedure. By 1972, a permanent type of inferior vena cava (IVC) filter was created. It was made of stainless steel and designed to remain inside the large vein. Removable IVC Filters were first approved by the FDA in 2002, and there has been heavy use of these devices.

Newer filter models are made from better materials, like titanium alloys, but they also present newer dangers to the patients. The stainless steel models cannot be used in an MRI procedure; newer metals do allow this type of examination. About 49,000 filters were implanted in 1999, and by 2012, over 249,000 units would be used in patients who were prone to having problems with deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. The filters are an optional treatment for those patients who cannot tolerate use of anticoagulant drugs to dissolve clots.

The filter is a very small, thin metal device that has a cap at the top end and several long wire legs with clasps at the ends. The leg portions expand when placed and the clasps attach the device to the vein, holding it in place. The cage-like filter can then trap any blood clots that pass from the lower legs that otherwise might move on to the heart, lungs, brain or abdomen areas to harm the patient. Removable IVC Filters are inserted inside a thin catheter that is removed after implantation of the filter. When danger of clotting is over, the filter can be removed in a reverse procedure.

IVC Filter Failures

Problems with IVC Filter failures became public in 2010, when the first lawsuits were filed against several manufacturers in the United States. The FDA issued a warning about IVC Filters at that time, but it was also a concern of many that a manufacturer, Bard, may have known about IVC Filter failures years earlier, around 2004. Some accusations were that the company deliberately told employees not to disclose these issues.

The FDA safety report also stated that retrievable IVC Filter units should be removed quickly, within 29 to 54 days after implantation, if the patient was out of danger of blood clotting. Their report cited specific dangers related to use of the temporary filters, including filter fracture, vein and organ perforation and device migration. In some class action lawsuits, plaintiffs complained that the IVC Filters migrated to other organs, like the heart or lungs, and caused additional pain, suffering, surgeries and in some cases, death to the patient.

IVC Filter Class Action Lawsuits

Most IVC Filter lawsuits have been filed by individuals, due to the unique nature of each situation. There are two class actions in progress in Pennsylvania and California, but they are not asking for damage claims. Instead, the request is for payment of ongoing monitoring costs for damages related to IVC Filter failures.

The first legal activity began in 2012, when plaintiffs filed lawsuits in California and Pennsylvania, against one manufacturer, C.R. Bard. Shortly thereafter, in October of 2014, lawsuits against Cook were consolidated into Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in the Southern District Court of Indiana. Over 100 lawsuits had been filed against Cook. Other cases filed in Arizona are still pending in their District Court MDL.

An original case against C.R. Bard brought by Kevin Phillips of California was settled in February, 2015.The confidential settlement was made just 10 days after that trial began. The Phillips case cited that the plaintiff suffered internal damage when his Bard Recovery IVC Filter fractured and a small metal leg migrated to his heart and perforated it. He needed open heart surgery for repair of this damage and recovery was long and costly.

Claims charged in hundreds of individual lawsuits include basic negligence by the manufacturer, deliberate hiding of danger and failure to warn consumers of dangers, poor design and manufacture of the product, product failure through fractures and migration, and in some cases, extensive punitive damages have also been awarded by a jury.

Class-action Lawsuits

Three class-action lawsuits filed in Florida, California and Pennsylvania charged C.R. Bard and Cook with negligence and other claims for personal injury and other damages. The courts have not yet approved formation of the class yet.

The five main products at issue in these lawsuits include the following devices manufactured by C.R. Bard and Cook Medical.

  • The Bard Recovery filter
  • The Bard G2 filter
  • The Bard G2 Express filter
  • The Cook Gunther Tulip filter
  • The Cook Celect filter

Personal Injury Attorney

Persons who believe they were harmed by these IVC Filters should check with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney to see if there are any class-actions in their region, and if they are eligible to join any ongoing class actions. Due to the personal nature of this medical issue, you most likely will want to file an individual lawsuit.

If you have any concerns or questions about IVC Filter class action lawsuits, please contact our law firm immediately for current answers. Each state has different Statutes of Limitations for filing Personal Injury Lawsuits; time frames vary from the actual incident to diagnosis or discovery of a condition. We provide honest legal advice and representation and have experience in this area of legal concern. Call today for your free consultation with our experienced Personal Injury Attorney.