California plaintiffs in litigation against the Cordis Corporation have moved to consolidate 140 cases that charge that its TrapEase and OptEase IVC caused life-threatening injuries. A hearing is set for June 28 in state court in Alameda County.
Judge Brad Seligman will rule on whether to consolidate and set up a bellwether-trial process. The lead case is Jerry Dunson v. Cordis Corporation, Case No. RG16812476. Some 140 plaintiffs have file product liability and breach of warranty claims against Cordis, which is headquartered in the county in Fremont, CA.
The motion to consolidate was filed by Ramon Rossi Lopez, Matthew R. Lopez and Amorina P. Lopez of Lopez McHugh LLP in Philadelphia, PA.
Double the risk
IVC filters are medical devices placed in the inferior vena cava (IVC) to catch blood clots and stop them from traveling to the heart or lungs. The filters have been shown to double the risk of pulmonary embolism, the very condition which they are intended to prevent. Dozens of plaintiffs have filed product liability lawsuits charging defective design, misrepresentation in marketing, failure to warn doctors and patients adequately about the risks of the devices, and refusing to warn that the filters did not work.
Cordis Corporation is a multi-national business that was was a subsidiary of defendant Johnson & Johnson’s and part of the J&J family of companies until October 2015. On October 4, 2015, defendant Cardinal Health, headquartered in Dublin, OH, publicly announced that it acquired J&J’s Cordis business.
IVC filters are marketed as preventing blood clots (called thrombi) from traveling from the lower portions of the body to the heart and lungs. The vena cava is a large vein that returns blood to the heart. In certain people, and for various reasons, thrombi travel from vessels in the legs and pelvis, through the vena cava into the lungs. Often these thrombi develop in the deep leg veins. The thrombi are called “deep vein thromboses” or DVT. Once a thrombus reaches the lungs it is considered a “pulmonary embolus,” or PE.
Risk of fracturing, tilting and perforating
The Defendants designed, manufactured, marketed and sold two versions of its IVC filter:
- The first Cordis filter was its TrapEase Permanent Vena Cava Filter (“TrapEase filter“), which was and remains a permanent filter, meaning it was intended to be implanted into the body for the life of the patient.
- Cordis then created its second IVC filter—the OptEase Retrievable Vena Cava Filter (“OptEase filter“), which was initially cleared by the FDA only as a permanent device, but later received clearance for use as an optional or retrievable filter.
The Cordis IVC filters presented an increased risk of fracturing, titling within the inferior vena cava, perforating the wall of the inferior vena cava (frequently penetrating into other organs and tissues such as the aorta and duodenum), and migrating through the body. The Cordis IVC filters employ the same basic design and are constructed of the same materials. The TrapEase filters and the OptEase filters have demonstrated the same problems—namely, they migrate, fracture, perforate, and tilt, and also, studies show that they lack efficacy and, indeed, actually increase the risk of PE.
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