Bard IVC Lawsuits | October 2019 Update

The Bard Recovery IVC filter and its ostensibly new and improved cousin, the Bard G2 IVC filter, have been linked to an increased risk of fracture which can cause serious injury or death.

The IVC filter lawsuits have been going on for a long time, too long.  We frequently get calls from people who are frustrated that their lawyer has “done nothing” to advance their case towards settlement.  This page is meant to give you information if you have filed an IVC filter lawsuit or are thinking of filing such a claim.

A New Verdict in That Means Something to You

The big news in these IVC filter cases came in April 2018 when the plaintiff scored their first big win.  An Arizona jury awarded a Georgia woman $3.6 million, including $2 million in punitive damages.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers were high on these cases when we were losing because we always thought a jury would get angry at the fact in these cases.  It took us a while — which often happens in mass tort cases — but we were right.

Now the momentum is with the plaintiffs and the estimated settlement value of the IVC cases is on the rise.  Is the average settlement value going to be $3.6 million?   No way.  But the value is on the rise. Other big verdicts will push the settlement value that much higher.

But It Is Still a Battle

In October 2018, the plaintiff took a hit in an Arizona federal court, giving C.R. Bard its second MDL victory.  Juries are still mixed on whether Bard is responsible in these cases. The issue is whether Bard met its obligation to disclose to the physicians what they need to know about the product.  Specifically, whether all the relevant information relating to its IVC filter that doctors would reasonably need to know to determine whether to use an IVC filter.  As we discuss below, these battles to shape the settlement value of these cases will continue with two trials set for 2019.

In June 2019, the federal court MDL judge issued a ruling that no more cases may be filed in the MDL.  Instead, they should be filed in the individual federal court appropriate for that claim.   This may be a harbinger that all the cases will soon be sent out of the MDL and back to their home states to prepare for trial.  This puts a burden on the lawyers for Bard… and the plaintiffs’ lawyers who will have to prepare for many trials at once.

History of IVC Filters

sickwomanIVC filters were developed for patients that have trouble with anticoagulation therapy because of concomitant bleeding or a high risk of bleeding.   IVC filters have been developed to address these issues. These devices are placed in the IVC. They are designed to allow uninterrupted blood flow while catching pieces of blood clots and preventing them from migrating to the pulmonary arteries. These devices essentially resemble the ribs of an umbrella without the cloth stretched between them.

The first IVC filter was the Mobin-Udin filter developed in 1967.  It was replaced by the Greenfield filter in 1973. These first-generation filters required surgical access to the femoral vein for placement and the threshold for their implantation was high.

Over time, IVC filters were able to be placed percutaneously through a large-bore IV placed in the femoral vein.  Then the retrievable filters were invented to be placed and left in place permanently or retrieved for months. These filters were attractive for patients needing temporary IVC filter therapy.  The same cast of characters we have today jumped into the retrievable IVC filters fray:  Cook Medical (Gunther-Tulip), Bard Medical (Bard Recovery Filter) and Cordis (Optease).

IVC Filter Problems

The Bard IVC MDL class action begin in August 2015 with 22 lawsuits.  By the time the MDL closed on May 31, 2019, 8,000 cases had been filed.  How did we get here?

Venous thromboembolism, or the formation of blood clots in the veins, occurs in more than 200,000 Americans per year. Bard’s IVC filters are medical devices placed in the patient’s vena cava designed to catch blood clots for patients at risk for pulmonary embolism. The filters are designed to trap clots before they travel to the lungs. You don’t implant these filters unless the patient is at risk and attempts to mitigate risk using medications have not been effective. Only then do doctors turn to these Bard IVC filters.

But the Bard filters create their own problems. On August 9, 2010, the FDA released information warning of complications with the Bard IVC Filters. That same day, an article that appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine concludes that the Bard Recovery® Filter has a 25% rate of fracture and the G2® Filter has a 12% rate of fracture.

The IVC filter failures included death, filter migration, caval perforation, filter embolization, pulmonary embolism (PE), caval thrombosis and filter fracture.  In 2018, there is data that indicates that the G2 IVC filter was failing at a significantly increased rate relative to Bard’s predicate permanent device. This finding was particularly true for migration and perforation.  This has led to a lot of lawsuits claiming injury and death.

Plaintiffs’ lawsuits allege Bard’s IVC filters are more dangerous than other IVC filters because of their fundamental flaws.  These suits claim Bard’s filters have greater risk of perforation, penetration, tilting, fracture, and migration.  The victims bringing these lawsuits would concede that these risks are present in all IVC filters.  But the key is whether Bard’s filters were worse.  One of the plaintiffs’ experts testified that the cumulative rate of failure or an adverse event for the Bard G2 IVC filter was 3.8 times greater than the non-Bard permanent filters, and 4.7 times greater than for non-Bard retrievable filters.  The fracture rate, was also a concern, according to this expert. The G2 suffered from fractures 13.3 times more often than permanent non-Bard filters and 9.1 times more often than retrievable non-Bard filters.  That is a problem.

Still, for all the defective design talk, this is ultimately a failure to warn claim.  The plaintiffs believe that Bard had a legal and moral obligation to warn both patients and physicians about these risks and the fact that Bard was having greater complications than other filters.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a Bard IVC filter fracture, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.