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IVC Filter Lawsuits, Verdicts & Settlements

Thousands of people have filed suit against C.R. Bard, Cook Medical and other IVC filter manufacturers, claiming their devices have caused organ damage and other serious complications. In some cases, the blood clot filters killed people, lawsuits say. A jury in March 2018 awarded $3.6 million to a patient who claimed her IVC filter broke and caused injuries that required open-heart surgery.

As of September 2018, more than 9,000 lawsuits have been filed against two IVC filter makers.

Cook Medical faced 4,634 lawsuits in an Indiana federal court. Bard faced another 4,383 in an Arizona federal court.

IVC filter attorneys believe hundreds more people could file suits.

A federal panel combined lawsuits against each company into multidistrict litigations (MDLs) in order to move the lawsuits through the legal process more efficiently.

Bellwether trials — representative test cases used to determine possible settlements — were underway in both MDLs as of July 2018.

Currently, no IVC filter class action lawsuits have been filed in the United States. Law firms launched at least two class actions in Canada, both targeting Cook Medical’s IVC filters.

Timeline of IVC Filter Bellwether Trials
  • November 9, 2017
    Cook Medical won the first bellwether trial.
  • March 2018
    The judge in the Cook MDL dismissed the second bellwether. It was set for April 30, 2018, but the judge said the plaintiff waited too long after his injury to file suit.
  • March 30, 2018
    A jury in the first Bard trial awarded a $3.6 million verdict to Sherr-Una Booker. She claimed a Bard IVC filter broke and injured her.
  • June 1, 2018
    Bard won the second bellwether trial.
  • July 12, 2018
    Bard won the third bellwether case after the judge declared the statute of limitations expired.
  • September 2018
    Fourth Bard bellwether case, Hyde v. Bard, went to trial at the end of September. The jury decided in Bard’s favor after of one day of deliberation.
  • February 2019
    Fifth Bard bellwether trial scheduled for court.
  • May 2019
    Sixth bellwether trial is scheduled for court.

In July 2018, the MDL judge granted summary judgment to Bard on two issues in the fourth bellwether trial. Summary judgments are decisions judges may reach without a full trial.

Judge David Campbell struck down plaintiff Lisa Hyde’s claims that Bard failed to warn about IVC filter dangers and that the company had committed fraud. In October 2018, Judge Campbell also tossed Hyde’s claim of damages related to a cardiac arrhythmia and the possibility she may need a defibrillator implanted in the future.

The judge allowed her claims of defective and negligent design, general negligence and punitive damages to stand.

But on October 5, 2018, after closing arguments during which Hyde’s lawyer reiterated the excessive number of medical device reports implicating Bard’s malfunctioning filters in at least 1,202 adverse events, an Arizona federal jury said Bard was not liable for Hyde’s claims.

Neither Bard nor Cook Medical has offered a global settlement. The companies have agreed to a few individual settlements for undisclosed amounts.

IVC Filter Complications

IVC filters are designed to reduce the risk of blood clots in people who are unable to take blood thinners. But people claim IVC filters punctured their veins, broke or moved, leading to serious IVC filter complications.

IVC Filter Complications People Can Sue For
  • Blood clots
  • Device migration
  • Filter fracture
  • Impossible filter removal
  • Organ damage
  • Organ perforation
Illustration of IVC filter perforation
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The filters are cage-like devices that are inserted through a person’s groin or neck. Spindly legs deploy inside the inferior vena cava — a large vein that carries blood to the heart — and trap clots before they can reach the lungs.

Lawsuits filed in federal court allege that defects in the design of IVC filters manufactured by Bard and Cook make them more likely fracture, migrate, tilt or perforate the inferior vena cava. In some cases, when the devices break, pieces can travel through the body, damaging the heart, lungs and other organs.

People who’ve been injured say the companies knew or should have known about the dangers but failed to warn doctors and patients of the risks.

Suffering complications from an IVC Filter? Get a Free Case Review

Manufacturers and Brands Named in Lawsuits

Cook Medical and Bard manufactured several of the IVC filter models named in MDLs.

IVC Filters Named in MDLs Include
  • Cook Celect
  • Cook Günther Tulip
  • Bard Recovery
  • Bard G2
  • Bard G2 Express

People have also filed individual lawsuits against other IVC filter manufacturers. Companies sued include ALN, Argon, Boston Scientific and CORDIS. None of those lawsuits were part of any MDLs as of August 2018.

MANUFACTURER MODELS NAMED IN LAWSUITS
ALN Optional
Argon Option Elite
Bard Recovery, G2, G2 Express (G2X), Eclipse, Denali, Meridian
Boston Scientific Greenfield
Cook Medical Celect, Gunther Tulip
Cordis TrapEase, OptEase

Manufacturer Knew of IVC Filter Deaths

In 2015, NBC News linked Bard IVC filters to 39 deaths. The network’s investigation claimed that Bard executives had been aware of the risk for years but the company did nothing.

During its probe, NBC obtained a 2004 study commission by Bard that found the Bard Recovery IVC filter had a higher failure rate than competing devices.

NBC reported that company executives made copies available on a “need-to-know” basis and told those who read the report to keep it secret.

Did You Know?
In July 2015, the FDA sent a warning letter to Bard about its medical device reporting, stating the company had failed to report knowledge of a malfunctioning device that “would be likely to cause or contribute to a death or serious injury, if the malfunction were to recur.”

Bard Verdicts and Settlements

The first Bard bellwether trial resulted in a $3.6 million verdict for a Georgia woman. The jury awarded $1.6 million in actual damages and $2 million in punitive damages to Sherr-Una Booker.

Juries award punitive damages to punish a defendant — in this case, Bard — when their actions cause severe harm.

Booker’s lawyer argued Bard executives knew their product was dangerous but continued selling it without warning doctors about its risks.

Bard won its second bellwether trial in a case involving plaintiff Doris Jones in June 2018.

Jones received a Bard Eclipse IVC Filter in 2010. Years later, doctors found that the filter had fractured, and a piece of it blocked her right pulmonary artery. Doctors could not remove the piece.

A jury concluded Bard’s warnings to doctors were adequate.

Bard has settled some individual IVC filter lawsuits for undisclosed amounts, but the company has made no global offer to settle all the lawsuits in the MDL.

Court records show the company settled at least three cases involving Bard’s Recovery and G2 IVC filters between 2013 and 2015.

Timeline of Bard IVC Filter Payouts
  • 2013
    Lisa Davis sued Bard over its G2 IVC filter in Michigan federal court. She claimed the device broke and migrated to her heart. Davis’ lawsuit said her continuing heart problems were due to the device. Davis filed suit in 2011. Attorneys for both sides told the judge they had reached a settlement in March 2013.
  • 2014
    Kelly and Chris Vlasvich filed suit in Illinois federal court over the Bard G2. They claimed the IVC filter broke, damaging Kelly’s heart and lungs. Court records show the Vlasvichs were close to settling with Bard in December 2014. They asked the court to dismiss their suit a month later.
  • 2015
    Kevin Phillips’ lawsuit over the Bard Recovery went to trial in Nevada federal court. Phillips claimed the IVC filter broke and perforated his heart. Ten days after the trial began, Bard agreed to an undisclosed settlement.

Cook Verdicts and Settlements

Cook Medical won the first bellwether trial in its multidistrict litigation in November 2017.

The judge overseeing the Cook IVC filter MDL had scheduled a series of settlement talks between the company and people filing suits in 2015 in hopes of resolving the cases before trial. The following year, however, the judge moved forward with pretrial proceedings and selected the first bellwether cases in the MDL.

The judge threw out the second bellwether case, which, like the first, was submitted by Cook Medical, on the grounds that the plaintiff’s claim was time-barred. The statute of limitations for the breach-of-warranty claim was a year and a day.

Then in May 2018, a Texas jury awarded a $1.2 million verdict to Houston firefighter Jeff Pavlock, who claimed a Cook Celect IVC filter damaged his aorta and small intestine. The lawsuit was not part of the bellwethers.

Cook Medical plans to appeal the jury’s decision.

Boston Scientific Greenfield IVC Filter Lawsuits

Boston Scientific’s Greenfield filter is also named in lawsuits. There is no MDL involving Greenfield IVC filters, but lawyers have filed individual lawsuits.

Boston Scientific recalled 18,000 Greenfield filters in 2005. The company warned that a part could detach and potentially cause a heart or lung embolism. Boston Scientific issued a second recall that same year based on reports that Greenfield filters could cause blood vessel damage.

2016 study published in the journal Cardiovascular Diagnosis & Therapy looked at IVC filter complications, including perforation, incomplete opening, migration and fractures. The authors cited an earlier study of Greenfield filter deployment problems, published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, which reported poor distribution of filter legs in 71 percent of placements.

IVC Filter Recalls and FDA Actions

There were six major IVC filter recall between 2005 and 2015. Manufacturers have not issued an IVC filter recall since 2015.

Most IVC filter lawsuits target devices that Bard or Cook never recalled.

IVC Filter Reports
The FDA’s MAUDE database shows IVC filter reports dating back to February 2008.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration tracks IVC filter complications. The FDA’s database shows thousands of reports on IVC filter complications.

Patients, doctors and manufacturers file the reports when they experience a problem. More than 500 reports came in during the first two months of 2018 alone.

In 2014, The FDA updated a 2010 Safety Communication advising doctors to remove retrievable IVC filters as soon as they are no longer needed. The FDA said the ideal time for removing IVC filters is between 29 and 54 days after implantation.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.

Terry Turner
Written By Terry Turner Writer

Terry Turner has been writing articles and producing news broadcasts for more than 25 years. He covers FDA policy, proton pump inhibitors, and medical devices such as hernia mesh, IVC filters, and hip and knee implants. An Emmy-winning journalist, he has reported on health and medical policy issues before Congress, the FDA and other federal agencies. Some of his qualifications include:

  • American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
  • Original works published or cited in Washington Examiner, MedPage Today and The New York Times
  • Appeared as an expert panelist on hernia mesh lawsuits on the BBC
Edited By
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27 Cited Research Articles

  1. U.S. District Court, District of Arizona. (2018, June 28). In re: Bard IVC Filter Products Liability Litigation; Case Management Order No. 34. Retrieved from  http://www.pacer.gov
  2. HarrisMartin Publishing. (2018, July 27). Bard Awarded Summary Judgement on Failure-to-Warn, Fraud Claims in Bellwether IVC Filter Case. Retrieved from  https://harrismartin.com/article/23692/bard-awarded-summary-judgment-on-failure-to-warn-fraud-claims-in-bellwether-ivc-filter-case/
  3. CTV. (2016, February 23). Canadians Launch Class-Action Lawsuits Against Manufacturer of Blood-Clot Filters. Retrieved from  https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/canadians-launch-class-action-lawsuits-against-manufacturer-of-blood-clot-filters-1.2790328
  4. Sandler, T. & Gosk, S. (2015, December 31). Why Did Firm Keep Selling Problem Blood-Clot Filters? NBC News. Retrieved from  http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/why-did-firm-keep-selling-problem-blood-clot-filters-n488166
  5. Sandler, T., Naggiar, S., & Gosk, S. (2015, September 3). Did Blood-Clot Filter Used on Thousands of Americans Have a Fatal Flaw? NBC News. Retrieved from  http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/did-blood-clot-filter-used-thousands-americans-have-fatal-flaw-n384536
  6. U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana Indianapolis Division. (2017, August 23). Second Amended Case Management Order #19 (Third Amended Bellwether Trial Plan). Retrieved from  http://www.insd.uscourts.gov/sites/insd/files/SECOND%20AMND%20CMO%2019%208-23-2017.pdf
  7. Sarosiek, S. et al. (2013, April 8). Indications, Complications, and Management of Inferior Vena Cava Filters. Retrieved from  https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1669107
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  9. U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. (2016, December 22). Case Management Order No. 20. Retrieved from  http://www.azd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/cases%20of%20interest/15-2641-4335.pdf
  10. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2015, August 17). Transfer Order. Retrieved from  http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/MDL-2641-Initial_Transfer-07-15.pdf
  11. U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. (2016, August 25). Case Management Order No. 16. Retrieved from  http://www.azd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/cases%20of%20interest/15-2641-3215.pdf
  12. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division. (2015, January 12). Complaint. Retrieved from  http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2015-01-12-Ratliff-Complaint.pdf
  13. Davis V. C.R. Bard, Inc. (2012, December 6). Retrieved from  https://casetext.com/case/davis-v-cr-bard
  14. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. (2013, October 31). Jury Demand. Retrieved from  http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2013-10-31-Vlasvich-Complaint.pdf
  15. Durack, J.C. et al. (2012, April). Perforation of the IVC: rule rather than exception after longer indwelling times for the Günther Tulip and Celect retrievable filters. Retrieved from  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21448771
  16. U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. (2017, October 10). In re: Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation; Case Management Order No. 27. Retrieved from  http://www.azd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/cases%20of%20interest/15-2641-8113.pdf
  17. Graf, R. (2018, March 12). Cook Medical’s Vein Filter Suit Tossed as Time-Barred. Law360. Retrieved from  https://www.law360.com/articles/1020877/cook-medical-s-vein-filter-suit-tossed-as-time-barred
  18. U.S. District Court, Dist. Of Arizona. (2017, November 21). In re: Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation; Case Management Order No. 28. Retrieved from  http://www.azd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/cases%20of%20interest/15-2641-8871.pdf
  19. Salvatore, C. (2018, May 24). Jury Awards #1.2M Over Vein Perforated by Medical Device. Law360. Retrieved from  https://www.law360.com/trials/articles/1047655/jury-awards-1-2m-over-vein-perforated-by-medical-device
  20. Harris Martin Publishing. (2018, May 29). Cook Medical Hit with $1.2 Million Verdict in Texas IVC Filter Action. Retrieved from https://harrismartin.com/article/23508/cook-medical-hit-with-12-million-verdict-in-texas-ivc-filter-action/
  21. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017, March 3). Removing Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filters: FDA Safety Communication. Retrieved from  http://wayback.archive-it.org/7993/20170722215731/https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm396377.htm
  22. HarrisMartin Publishing. (2018, June 5). Jury Finds for C.R. Bard in 2nd Bellwether IVC Filter Case After 12-Day Trial. Retrieved from  https://harrismartin.com/article/23539/jury-finds-for-cr-bard-in-2nd-bellwether-ivc-filter-case-after-12-day-trial/
  23. Densford, F. (2018, July 16). BD’s Bard Wins Third IVC Filter Bellwether. Mass Device. Retrieved from  https://www.massdevice.com/bds-bard-wins-third-ivc-filter-bellwether/
  24. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2018, September 17). MDL Statistics Report. Retrieved from  http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/Pending_MDL_Dockets_By_Actions_Pending-September-17-2018.pdf
  25. Perriello, B. (2018, October 3). Judge Pares Claims in Bard IVC Bellwether. Retrieved from https://www.massdevice.com/judge-pares-claims-in-bard-ivc-bellwether/
  26. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2015, July 13). C.R. Bard, Inc. 7/13/15. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2015/ucm455224.htm
  27. Sweeney T.J. & Van Amen, M.E. (1993, Sept.–Oct.). Deployment Problems with the titanium Greenfield filter. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8219566
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