Pennsylvania’s first product liability trial involving inferior vena cava (IVC) filters concluded late last month, with a Philadelphia jury awarding nearly $34 million to the plaintiff.
Tracy Reed-Brown received Rex Medical LP’s Option IVC filter in 2010. The device is indicated to prevent a pulmonary embolism from traveling to the lungs, and is designed to be removed once a patient is no longer at risk for blood clots.
Reed-Brown’s doctors attempted to remove her Option filter in 2016, but were unable to do so. According to her lawsuit, the IVC filter eventually perforated her inferior vena cava and punctured her pancreas, aorta, and renal vein. The device remains in Reed-Brown’s body to this day.
During the trial, Rex Medical’s attorneys argued that Reed-Brown’s doctor had not implanted the filter correctly and that she did not receive appropriate follow up care. But her lawyers asserted that the company failed to adequately test the Option IVC filter prior to bringing the product to market and should have known the device was prone to failure and embedment.
The jury apparently agreed, awarding her $1,045,764 for future medical expenses, $2,322,650 for future pain and suffering on October 27th. Jurors reconvened in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on November 4th, at which time they awarded Reed-Brown an additional $30,315,726 in punitive damages.
Reed-Brown’s Option IVC filter lawsuit was the first to go to trial in a mass tort litigation that includes more than 700 similar claims . Thousands of additional cases have been filed against other medical device manufacturers in state and federal courts around the country.
Three lawsuits involving C.R. Bard Inc.’s retrievable blood clot filters have gone to trial in the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, since March 2018. The first centered on the G2 IVC filter and resulted in a $3.6 million verdict for the plaintiff. The company went on to win two other Arizona trials, and in May, agreed to settle a Recovery IVC Filter lawsuit just before the state’s fourth trial was to get underway.
This past February, a federal jury in Indianapolis awarded $3 million to a woman who suffered serious injuries after Cook Medical, Inc.’s Celect IVC filter fractured and migrated to her spine. Another Indianapolis jury had found for the company in an earlier case, while a second Cook IVC filter lawsuit was dismissed just ahead of trial.
In May 2018, a Texas state court jury awarded $1.2 million to a firefighter who’s Celect IVC filter tilted, migrated, and perforated his aorta and duodenum.