When Did Litigation Involving The IVC Filters Start?
This has been going on for more than 10 years, but just on a smaller scale, although there are individual cases throughout the country. Most of the early litigation involved the Bard recovery filter, which was Bard’s first generation optional retrieval filter. They quietly stopped selling it and moved on to what they touted as a new and improved second generation, called the G2. They had four or five iterations since then which were all based on the design of the recovery filter. More recently, in early 2014, there were a number of cases against Cook out of Bloomington, Indiana and they were eventually consolidated in a multidistrict litigation there. One of the filters that have issues, is the Gunther Tulip. Just a few months ago, the Bard IVC filter MDL was established in the District of Arizona, which is where Bard has its vascular corporation set up and it is in the very early stages of litigation. There have been some trials over the past five or six years with varying results.
Are These Cases Class Action Lawsuits, Mass Torts Or Personal Injury Claims?
As far as a couple of the Cook made retrievable filters, they are in an MDL in Indiana in the Southern District and the Bard retrievable filters have just been consolidated in an MDL in Arizona. I think there is a medical malpractice angle to these cases. Certainly, if the physician knew that the device should be removed once the risk of a blood clot subsided or if the patient could get back on an anticoagulant, then since people walking around the street cannot just pull these things out, they would need to be pulled out by a qualified doctor using instruments. If the doctors just let their patients go and did not follow up with them, then in some circumstances that would be actionable if the patient got hurt because of that. If we had a local physician as well as the manufacturer for a failed product, we would be able to maintain that case in the state court and not be drawn into the MDL by filing in the federal court system and then the case could be transferred or filed directly into the MDL. There are some state court cases outside that are going on right now, but a lot of people do not think their doctors did anything wrong or the doctors feel the manufacturer somewhat persuaded them to put it in and leave it in regardless of the patient’s need for the device. In those cases, the cause of action would really be against the manufacturer alone and unless the person was from the same jurisdiction or state where the manufacturer had its principal place of business or its residence, the person would have to file that case in the federal court system or it would be removed to the federal court system and it would eventually end up in the MDL if it was either a Bard or a Cook made retrievable filter.
From A Financial Standpoint Is One Type Of Lawsuit Better Than The Other?
There are many different arguments about MDL or no MDL. These companies are big and they have a lot of resources so it would quite frankly take a lot of effort, work and money to pursue a case against them. There is strength in numbers and collective knowledge in an MDL system. In the Bard MDL particularly, a firm has been litigating these cases for a number of years who have done a lot of the heavy lifting and so the people participating in the MDL would have access to their product. This is a kind of litigation by litigation analysis and in this particular litigation, particularly with Bard, the MDL was very important. It would result in a more efficient resolution to claims by narrowing the issues and having a number of very good lawyers available to be able to move the litigation in such a manner that, on both sides, Bard gets a fair shaking and the plaintiffs injured by the product get a fair shake.
Who Would Qualify To Make An IVC Filter Claim Or File An Injury Lawsuit?
The person would qualify if they had one of these retrievable filters implanted and suffered an injury from it or if they wanted to seek routine medical monitoring. The medical monitoring issue has not yet come to fruition, because the last time I checked there were some firms trying to put together a class action on that issue. The class has not yet been certified but we have had cases or we know of cases where the claimant essentially had the right product but at the time did not appreciate that they had been harmed by the product and through subsequent imaging studies, they were able to learn that the product had in fact fractured or migrated and was either already harming them unbeknownst to them or was going to harm them severely if something was not done emergently. For all the people who may read this, and who might have one of these filters implanted at any time from the fall of 2003 to the present, just because they did not know that the filter was problematic would not mean they should not seek some treatment. They should actually do an imaging study to make sure the filter was still doing its job and had not failed because for a lot of the injuries we see, people tend to not understand or associate them with the filter until the imaging confirmed that the filter had failed.
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