While concrete details are scarce, current evidence suggests that C.R. Bard and Cook Medical have already settled a number of IVC filter lawsuits.
The IVC filter litigation continues to grow, as patients and families file suit over severe complications. Contact an experienced IVC Filter Attorney now for a free consultation.
Nearly 3,000 IVC filter lawsuits against Cook Medical are now consolidated in the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Another 3,000 lawsuits, filed against C.R. Bard, are centralized in the US District Court for Arizona. The IVC filter litigation has become truly massive, but there’s still time for injured patients and families to file lawsuits of their own.
Yes, although the amounts of these settlement agreements have not been made public.
In 2015, medical device manufacturer C.R. Bard entered a settlement agreement with one man, who said an IVC filter broke apart inside his body and perforated a chamber of his heart. The most interesting point to note, however, is that the settlement was only reached after 10 days of trial.
Few subsequent settlements were publicized, but there’s good reason to believe that, as the IVC filter litigation grew, both C.R. Bard and Cook Medical were quietly agreeing to settlements in a number of cases. A number of lawsuits, for example, were apparently dismissed from federal courts, but without the defendant filing a formal motion to dismiss. In earlier litigations, a similar pattern was observed when defendants had begun to settle lawsuits privately.
In their complaints, thousands of American patients say they suffered severe injuries after being implanted with an IVC filter, a medical device designed to “catch” blood clots before they reach the lungs or heart. Instead of performing their intended function, patients claim, IVC filters fail at an incredibly-high rate.
What does “failure” mean in this context? Medical researchers, individual patients and families say IVC filters can break apart inside the vein, allowing fragments of metal to puncture vital organs. In some cases, the filters will pierce the inferior vena cava, the body’s largest artery, creating a risk of internal bleeding. Occasionally, an entire filter will simply detach from its place in the vein, flowing along with the blood toward the heart or lungs.
There is also evidence, documented in peer-reviewed studies, that IVC filter placement can actually increase the risk for deep vein thrombosis, one of the medical conditions the devices were designed to treat. Some implant models, manufactured by C.R. Bard, have even been linked to 50% failure rates. That’s 1 in 2 patients who experience a severe IVC filter complication.
As a result of these studies, along with their own personal experiences, thousands of patients say the IVC filter is an ill-conceived, and wholly-defective, medical device, one that should never have been put on the market. At the least, patients argue, IVC filters should have been recalled after the weight of medical research demonstrated that their risks far outweighed their benefits.
Guided by experienced federal judges, most Multi-District Litigation proceedings are geared to encourage settlement. The goal, in the minds of most legal experts, is to avoid the significant risks of actual trials, by developing evidence and figuring out how real juries would value each case.
A rough picture of liability emerges, as defendants and plaintiffs come to understand the litigation’s scope (i.e. how many plaintiffs would be able to file suit) and what amount of damages are appropriate and fair. The majority of MDL judges actively push plaintiffs and defendants into settlement negotiations. In practice, everyone wants to cut down on the time and money spent litigating product liability lawsuits. In a broad sense, conducting a series of contentious court trials ends up being more expensive, for everyone involved, than reaching appropriate settlements.
Because MDL proceedings allow for a fair bit of variation between cases (unlike class action, in which all claims must be essentially the same), some parties will push for individual settlement agreements, in which each plaintiff will negotiate their own separate deal with the defendant.
Many MDLs, though, go a different route. In a global settlement, the defendant product manufacturer will offer a set amount of money intended to compensate every plaintiff whose case is consolidated in the litigation.
Global settlements are not simple; they’re highly structured. Most work as a points system, where the severity and nature of a patient’s injury will earn them a set number of points. Other factors can also be worth points; a patient’s state, for example, because their right to recovery could be affected by a statute of limitations. Ultimately, a patient’s point total will correspond to a settlement amount.
In most cases, the defendant will hand administration of the settlement fund over to an independent company. Patients will have to file a claim against the settlement fund to secure their compensation.
The US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has already held three mandatory settlement conferences for the Cook Medical lawsuits. While any developments from these conferences have not been made public, District Judge Richard L. Young has selected three representative cases that will proceed to trial in the coming months.
These initial trials, known in the legal profession as “bellwether” trials, are set to begin on:
In these three opening trials, both plaintiffs and Cook Medical will get the opportunity to air their evidence and arguments before real juries. Those juries will also deliver actual judgments, either choosing to hold Cook accountable or decide in favor of the defendant.
The point, beyond actually trying three lawsuits, is largely to inform ongoing settlement negotiations. Defendants who secure a series of bellwether victories gain leverage in settlement conferences, or might choose to fight each consolidated case in court individually. When plaintiffs win bellwether trials, on the other hand, the patients gain leverage and may be able to demand higher sums of compensation in exchange for dropping their allegations.
A similar process is taking place for C.R. Bard lawsuits in the US District Court of Arizona.
Continue Reading: IVC Filter Side Effects: Blood Clot Filters Tied To Major Complications
Southern District of Indiana: MDL Case Information
Case Text: Davis v. C.R. Bard, Inc