Verdicts and settlements in IVC litigation are becoming more common as IVC filter lawsuits wind their way through court. Both aim to compensate victims for the medical complications they have suffered that were caused by their implanted IVC filters. Verdicts are often higher than settlements, but come at the end of costly and stressful trials. As more verdicts against IVC filter manufacturers pile up, the number of settlements and their amount will increase, as well.
- 1. Verdicts in IVC litigation
- 2. Settlements in IVC litigation
- 3. Verdicts and settlements in individual versus consolidated IVC filter lawsuits
1. Verdicts in IVC litigation
Verdicts come after a trial, and are a judge or jury's attempt to compensate the victim of an IVC filter injury after hearing all of the evidence presented by the victim and the defendant.
Because verdicts come after a trial, they are far less common than settlements. This trend is particularly true in mass torts cases like IVC filter lawsuits, where defendants are especially interested in avoiding a trial. However, verdicts are also more likely to get reported on the news, while settlement amounts are often protected by nondisclosure provisions in the settlement agreement.
Important verdicts in IVC filter litigation come from the multidistrict litigation (MDL) lawsuits against major IVC filter manufacturers, and include:
- February 7, 2019: A $3 million verdict for the victim in the third bellwether trial of the MDL against Cook Medical. The victim's IVC filter fractured, with a piece of the filter breaking through the inferior vena cava vein and then the skin of her thigh. Another piece of the fractured IVC filter was lodged near the victim's spine,1
- November 5, 2018: A jury verdict for defendant in the third bellwether trial of the MDL against C.R. Bard. The victim's IVC filter fractured and migrated out of her inferior vena cava and into her abdominal cavity and heart chamber,2
- March 30, 2018: A $3.6 million verdict for a victim in the first bellwether trial in the MDL against C.R. Bard. The victim's IVC filter tore through her inferior vena cava and migrated to her heart, requiring open-heart surgery to remove. Another fractured piece of the filter could not be removed, and remains lodged near her heart. The jury found C.R. Bard 80% responsible, and included $2 million in punitive damages,3 and
- November 9, 2017: A jury verdict for the defendant in the first bellwether trial of the MDL against Cook Medical.4
As more bellwether trials are resolved, the chances that these MDLs reach a global IVC settlement increase.
Additionally, there have been verdicts in individual lawsuits that have been filed against IVC filter manufacturer makers but have not been consolidated into one of the MDLs. These include:
- May 29, 2018: A $1.2 million verdict for a victim against Cook Medical. The victim's IVC filter had tilted in the inferior vena cava and perforated the vein, his duodenum, and his aorta before pressing against his spine and renal artery.5
2. Settlements in IVC litigation
Neither one of the IVC filter MDLs has reached a global settlement. This is likely to change in the near future, though, as the first round of scheduled bellwether trials comes to a close and lawyers for the victims and the IVC filter manufacturers come to a better idea of how much compensation juries are willing to give to victims.
However, several IVC filter lawsuits that were not consolidated in the MDLs have been settled out of court. Unfortunately, the settlement amounts have not been disclosed, likely because the settlement agreement includes a provision that forbids plaintiffs from talking about it.
3. Verdicts and settlements in individual versus consolidated IVC filter lawsuits
People who have been hurt by their implanted IVC filter can file a lawsuit against their IVC filter's manufacturer on their own behalf or by joining an ongoing multidistrict litigation.
Victims who file individual lawsuits have their own lawyer and move through the court system alone. They have to gather and present their own evidence to show:
- They were hurt,
- The extent of their injuries,
- Their injuries were caused by the IVC filter that had been implanted, and
- The IVC filter manufacturer should be held liable.
Victims who join a multidistrict litigation, on the other hand, are consolidated with hundreds of other similar cases for the pretrial procedures of their case, including:
- Discovery of evidence,
- Depositions and interrogatories, including of expert witnesses,
- Motions to exclude evidence, and
- Motions to dismiss the case and summary judgment motions.
Lawsuits in an MDL share evidence, but there is not as much opportunity for each individual victim to show why their case is unique and why they deserve more compensation than a typical lawsuit.
Verdicts in MDLs are far more noteworthy than they are in individual IVC filter lawsuits because MDL verdicts come from bellwether trials. Bellwether trials are chosen from the lawsuits in an MDL as claims that are representative of the MDL, as a whole. Therefore, a verdict in a bellwether trial, whatever the outcome, is likely going to influence all of the other cases in the MDL.
Settlements are also more important in an MDL than in an individual IVC filter claim because defendants in MDLs make global settlements that end thousands of lawsuits at a single stroke. It is then up to the plaintiffs' attorneys in the MDL to disburse the global settlement amount to the victims in the case.
Greg Land, “Indiana Jury Awards $3M in Bellwether Trial of Cook IVC Filters,” Law.com (February 7, 2019).
Tina Bellon, “Jury clears Bard of liability in third IVC filter test trial,” Reuters (October 8, 2018).
Law360, “Bard Owes Injured Woman $3.6M In IVC Bellwether, Jury Finds,” Law360 (March 30, 2018).
“1st Cook IVC MDL Bellwether Trial Ends In Defense Verdict,” LexisNexis (November 10, 2017).
Law360, “Jury Awards $1.2M Over Vein Perforated By Medical Device,” Law360 (May 25, 2018).