A federal court jury in Phoenix, Arizona ordered C.R. Bard, a medical company that manufactures vascular, urology, surgery and oncology devices and headquartered in Murray Hill, New Jersey, to pay Sherr-Una Booker an award of $3.6 million after it was determined that the company failed to warn patients that its blood clot filter was defective.
The plaintiff claimed that the filter broke apart in her body. The ruling was announced on Friday, March 30 after the jury deliberated six and a half hours.
The jury actually awarded the plaintiff $2 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages. However, Bard is responsible for 80 percent of the harm, hence the total award of $3.6 million. The jury also ruled that a radiologist was responsible for 20 percent of the compensatory damages.
Booker was 37-years old when she received a Bard G2 blood clot filter that ultimately broke apart inside her largest vein. It was implanted before she had surgery to remove a cancerous cervical mass. According to court documents, the filter fractured and moved, then tilted and one or more of its pieces perforated her blood vessel that carries blood from the lower body to the heart.
Despite what happened to the filter, the jury declared that Bard was not liable for a strict product liability design defect.
What Is An IVC Filter
An inferior vena cava filter is a cage-like device that is inserted into the inferior vena cava vein to prevent blood clots that form in the leg from reaching the lungs. If the clot does reach the lungs the result could be a pulmonary embolism or blockage of an artery in the lungs. About 200,000 of this type of clot-stopping device are implanted across the United States each year.
IVC filters are meant to be temporary implants and are removed once the risk of blood clots pass. However, commonly the filters are never salvaged or are retrieved on a timeline recommended by the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA).
Booker’s case, which is referred to as a bellwether trial, is the first to be held in federal court in Phoenix. Thousands of cases involving the Bard blood clot filter have been combined into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). It is common for a large number of lawsuits to be filed together that involve the same issue. Federal courts may coordinate these cases into MDLs. A single judge rules on pretrial issues and oversee early trials known as bellwethers. The result of these first cases helps the court to set up guidelines for the parties that may lead to a potential settlement.
As of the middle of March, there are 3,639 pending lawsuits involving injuries caused by seven models of Bard IVC filters. U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell is supervising the cases.
Another 3,826 trials involving Cook Medical Inc. IVC filters are pending in Indiana. The first bellwether trial in this case ended with the jury favoring the device manufacturer. The trial was held in November 2017.
The number of medical malpractice lawsuits involving IVC filters is growing, according to IVC filter news reports. Despite being designed to prevent life-threatening blood clots, IVC filters have ended up causing a greater risk for many patients. Lawsuits like the one described here show that IVC filter manufacturers have failed to adequately alert patients and surgeons of the risk. If you or a love one has suffered from a defective IVC filter, please contact us. Our lawyers at the Eichholz Law Firm are well versed in the issue and can provide you with advice and help organize your case.