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Hundreds of Mass Tort Cases Filed Against Maker of IVC Filter

What if a pulmonary device intended to help prevent blood clots in your lungs suddenly tilted, broke, or migrated throughout your body? The industry of mass tort litigation continues to rise with new multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) on retrievable Inferior Vena Cava filters (“IVC”).

Early Stages of Litigation

IVCs are small filter devices designed to prevent blood clots from traveling from the lower body to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. IVCs are intended to be temporary, but when left in place, the struts of these filters break loose. This breakage within the body can be life-threatening and has been known to cause serious injury and death.

IVC litigation is still in the early stages now, but a new MDL approved in the U.S. District Court of Arizona means now is an opportune time for plaintiff firms to start signing clients. The current IVC filter lawsuits were filed against Cook Medical Inc.'s Celect IVC filters and Günther Tulip IVC filters.  IVC filter lawsuits have also been filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, including a large increase of filings over the summer months.

120 filings had been made against Cook, the Bloomington, Indiana-based IVC company, as of August 27, 2015.

The IVC lawsuits also allege that Cook's medical devices are defectively designed, are sometimes difficult to remove, and cause serious patient complications. Additionally, filings contend that Cook failed to provide sufficient warnings and instructions to physicians and their patients about the dangers and adverse effects caused by its filters.

The most commonly-claimed side-effects of the Cook IVCs are:

  • Perforation of the heart, lung or other organs
  • Punctured vena cava
  • Perforated aorta and fractured IVCs
  • Migration of filters from original position
  • Detached components of the device
  • Difficulty removing the IVC
  • Death

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is currently encouraging all doctors to remove IVC filters as soon as the risk of a pulmonary embolism is no longer necessary. The FDA issued warnings about the risk associate with the use of IVC filters in 2010 and again in 2014.

IVCs and Multidistrict Litigation

Multidistrict litigation is helpful in mass tort cases like this because it allows attorneys to litigate common factual issues efficiently and effectively for their respective clients. There is currently no data available on settlement values because these cases are still new and are currently developing. The current marketing cost to acquire an IVC client ranges from $300 to $600.

[sws_pullquote_right] See Also: Top 5 Mass Tort Cases for Plaintiff Lawyers Right Now [/sws_pullquote_right]

Mass tort attorneys, particularly MDL hopefuls, realize that there is a cost to bring in this unique type of clientele. Money spent by MDL and mass tort attorneys on the front-end helps these attorneys grow their cases and – ideally – eventually reap the rewards of larger verdicts for their clients.

Pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots in the lungs, can be deadly. IVC filters are used by patients who are at risk of experiencing a pulmonary embolism, especially those patients who cannot take anticoagulants, or for those for whom blood thinners were ineffective.

The cases are: In Re: Bard IVC Fliters Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2641 and In Re: Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales, Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2570.

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