For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

First IVC Filter Lawsuit Results in $3.6 Million Award

court gavel and settlement moneySherr-Una Booker alleged that a Bard G2 vena cava filter was defective, as it had tilted, migrated, and fractured while inside her inferior vena cava. She filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, C.R. Bard, stating that the defendant should be held liable for her losses. A federal jury in Arizona recently agreed with Booker, and ordered C.R. Bard to pay her $3.6 million.

IVC filter multidistrict litigation

Booker’s product liability lawsuit is one of more than 3,500 claims that have been centralized into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The MDL is proceeding in the District of Arizona. Judge David G. Campbell is presiding. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized the federal lawsuits in order to streamline the pre-trial discovery process. Booker’s lawsuit is the first of several bellwether trials, which are the initial trials in an MDL. Following the conclusion of the bellwether trials, any pending lawsuits that are not resolved with a settlement agreement will be remanded back to their home districts for an individual trial.

Why are IVC filters potentially dangerous?

The inferior vena cava is the largest vein in humans. Its job is to transport deoxygenated blood from the lower and middle regions of the body up to the heart, so that the blood can be pumped through the lungs, re-oxygenated, and then redistributed throughout the body.

IVC filters are surgically implanted medical devices placed within the IVC vein. They are used for patients who are at risk of having a blood clot travel through the IVC in the bloodstream from the legs or pelvis. If a blood clot is allowed to reach the lungs, it causes a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. IVC filters are wiry devices with spider-like legs. When placed in the vein, they are intended to trap blood clots and prevent them from reaching the lungs.

However, thousands of patients have discovered that the filters became dislodged and fractured. The legs of the filter have been known to erode through the walls of the IVC, at which point they can puncture nearby organs and tissues. It’s even possible for the filter itself to trigger the formation of a blood clot, and for it to shut down the vein. The longer an IVC filter is left in place, the higher the risk is of developing complications.

Permanent complications can occur, despite IVC filter removal

Like Sherr-Una Booker, many plaintiffs have had to undergo one or more revision surgeries to remove their IVC filters, despite the fact that they were once intended to be a permanent implant. Problems with IVC filters can cause severe, chronic pain, and it isn’t always possible for surgeons to remove the entire device. In Booker’s case, one of the legs remains permanently embedded in the wall of her IVC.

Because of the severity of Booker’s medical injuries, and the finding of liability on behalf of the defendant, the jury in Arizona awarded Booker compensatory damages, and also ordered C.R. Bard to pay punitive damages.

The next IVC filter bellwether trial in this MDL is expected to start on May 15. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are Doris and Alfred Jones. In addition to the C.R. Bard MDL, there are about 3,750 more IVC filter lawsuits pending in a separate MDL. These lawsuits involve similar allegations, but were filed against a competing manufacturer.

Further resources on IVC filter removal:

  1., Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement and Removal,
  2. Stanford Health Care, Removing Tiny Filter Embedded in Vein Takes Expertise Unique to Stanford Hospital,