June 16, 2016 — Lawyers are trying to transfer IVC filter lawsuits against Cordis Corporation into one federal court by arguing the cases are a “mass-tort” that should be consolidated.
The Notice of Removal (PDF) was filed on June 6 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Cordis Corporation said at least eight lawsuits had been filed in California state court in the last two months by people who were injured by the OptEase or TrapEase IVC filters.
Lawyers say over 115 plaintiffs were seriously injured when the filters broke, tilted out of position, perforated internal organs, or caused other severe side effects. One claim involves a wrongful death.
The allegations are very similar to those raised against other manufacturers of IVC filters. C.R. Bard is now facing over 600 lawsuits. Cook Medical is facing 500 lawsuits in federal court, according to updated statistics released yesterday by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML).
Consolidating lawsuits in a “mass-tort” or MDL has many of the advantages of a class action. However, unlike a class action, each lawsuit remains independent and can have its own outcome.
Vena cava filters are medical devices that are surgically implanted into the inferior vena cava (IVC) to catch blood clots and stop them from traveling to the heart or lungs. The OptEase is a temporary filters meant to be retrieved. The TrapEase is a permanent filter.
Unfortunately, both filters have been linked to serious risks. In one study, 50% of the TrapEase filters fractured within four years. The researchers warned about an “extremely high risk” of fracture within 2-3 years.
The FDA has issued several warnings about severe side effects of IVC filters, especially when retrievable devices are never removed. The agency recommends removing them within 29-54 days after implantation, if possible.
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