What is the Latest Status Update on the IVC Filter Litigation?
For more than five years, the IVC filter lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. have been representing individuals who experienced complications after receiving one of the blood clot filters designed to prevent pulmonary embolism. Our law firm began investigating cases after the FDA issued warnings in August 2010, indicating that hundreds of individuals throughout the U.S. were suffering serious injury when the small filters fractured, broke or moved out of position.
Most of the early IVC filter litigation has focused on the Bard Recovery and Bard G2 filters, with small number of cases filed in various state courts.
Although a few individual IVC filter settlements were reached as individual cases approached trial, it has become increasingly clear that Bard is not interested in making good faith attempts to settle large numbers of cases. Therefore, the number of complaints filed has been increasing since early 2015.
Two separate consolidated proceedings have now been established in the federal court system, including one for Bard IVC filter lawsuits and another for Cook IVC filter lawsuits. Known as a multidistrict litigation, or MDL, the process is designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues that will arise in the cases, prevent conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the witnesses, parties and the courts.
IVC Filter MDL Proceedings vs. Class Action Lawsuits
Centralized MDL proceedings are often confused with a class action lawsuit for IVC filters, as they involve a large number of similar claims brought over the same product. However, cases consolidated in an MDL remain individual claim, where each plaintiff must establish that their injury was caused by a problem with the IVC filter implanted.
If a large settlement is not reached following pretrial proceedings to resolve the litigation, each claim would individually need to go before a jury.
The Cook IVC filter litigation has been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana since October 2014. All complaints filed throughout the federal court system over problems with the Cook Celect filter or Cook Gunther Tulip filter will be transferred to U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young for coordinated pretrial proceedings. While the number of lawsuits is continuing to grow, there were more than 100 cases in the Cook IVC filter MDL as of July 2015.
The Bard IVC filter litigation was centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Gampbell in the District of Arizona on August 17, 2015. Although litigation over Bard Recovery filters and Bard G2 filters have been on-going much longer than the claims against Cook Medical, the federal MDL was not established until progress with informal coordination broke down. Since the litigation is expected to grow rapidly over the remainder of 2015 and 2016, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) determined that coordinated proceedings are appropriate.
IVC Filter Bellwether Trials
As part of each MDL proceeding, it is expected that a small group of cases against each manufacturer will be prepared for early trial dates, known as “bellwether” claims. A group of representative claims will likely go through case-specific discovery and pretrial motions to gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of different categories of claims, including situations where individuals experienced IVC filter migration, perforation or fractures.
It is unlikely that any trial dates will be scheduled before 2017, given the substantial work that must be done in the litigation. As part of the bellwether process, a small number of cases will ultimately be presented to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the blood filter litigation.
Following bellwether trials, if the manufacturers continue to refuse to make fair settlements to resolve the litigation, IVC filter lawsuits may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts throughout the country for individual trials.
To learn more about the latest IVC filter litigation status and determine whether you or a loved one may have a case, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.