Currently, there are more than 10,000 IVC filter cases filed across the country, in state and federal courts, with a majority being filed against manufacturers, Bard Medical and Cook Medical. IVC filters are small devices surgically implanted into the inferior vena cava in an effort to catch blood clots (where they should naturally dissolve) before they travel to the lungs, causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism. The Bard MDL (multidistrict litigation) is venued in the District of Arizona, while the Cook MDL is venued in the Southern District of Indiana. Additionally, lawsuits are being filed against Boston Scientific for its Greenfield Vena Cava Filter in Ohio; as well as Rex Medical and Argon Medical for their Option and Option Elite IVC Filters in Pennsylvania.
Recently, an Indiana jury awarded $3 million dollars to a plaintiff after a month-long trial, finding that a Cook Celect IVC blood clot filter was defective. The jury declined to award punitive damages. This was the third bellwether trial, and the first plaintiff win, in the Cook IVC MDL. The jury in the first bellwether trial found for defendant, while the Judge dismissed the second bellwether trial on summary judgement, concluding that the case was time-barred. However, a Texas jury awarded a plaintiff $1.2 million in 2018 in a failure to warn case. Currently, there are more than 5,000 cases filed against Cook.
Meanwhile, Bard Medical was ordered to pay $3.6 million to a plaintiff in the first Bard MDL bellwether trial in 2018. The second bellwether trial resulted in a defense win just a few months later. A third, and currently final, bellwether trial will take place in May 2019, which involves the Bard Recovery Filter. Judge Campbell, who is overseeing the Bard MDL, has indicated an intention to likely remand the cases in the MDL to their original districts, if a settlement is not reached, following the upcoming bellwether trial. Over 3,500 cases have been filed against Bard.
As previously discussed, a bellwether trial is meant to serve as a test case, commonly in MDLs, as it would be impractical and costly to try every case for trial. The result of the bellwether trials is expected to shape the process by which to resolve the remaining cases in the MDL. For instance, if several bellwether trials result in large verdicts, defendant(s) may be more inclined to settle the remaining cases, so as to avoid additional legal expenses. Alternatively, if multiple bellwether trials end in defense wins, defendants may choose to continue to litigate the cases, or they may extend lower settlement offers for the remaining cases.