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In cases involving IVC filters, the multidistrict litigations (MDLs) which have been formed are mass tort cases, which means they do not involve a class action. There is a plaintiff hearing committee and plaintiff executive committee which are appointed, and these committees include lawyers from across the country who are involved in IVC filter litigation.

A mass tort deals with numerous claimants, and so it is crucial to keep track of the various different components of the litigation. It is important to know how to navigate the mass action with so many cases being filed, as well as when and whether it makes sense to file the lawsuit. Knowing what to do if your case is selected for bellwether trial is another complex process, so it is imperative that you speak with an attorney who has experience in this area.

The harms in these IVC filter cases are absolutely severe enough to stand alone on their own. People are dealing with medical bills, lost wages, and ongoing permanent injuries, so it is important that each individual with an IVC filter injury case is able to pursue their claim on their terms and account for all their damages. Having an experienced Raleigh lawyer on your side will help you pursue your claim, and will help you navigate the many complexities that come with an IVC filter case.

Class Action v. Mass Tort Litigation

Class actions and mass tort litigation are two very different approaches to a lawsuit.

Class Action

In the example of a case where one thousand people lose $10 as a result of a company’s error, it would not make sense for one of those people to bring a lawsuit against the company if their damages are only going to be $10, since the cost of litigation is much more than that. However, if you aggregate all those together, it might start to make sense to bring a lawsuit. This is a class action. It is the aggregate of individual claims that are relatively small, such that when collected together it makes sense resource-wise to pursue it.

With the class action, if the judge certifies the class and approves it, all of the plaintiffs have to be similarly situated and have suffered harm that is almost exactly the same. Then, one class member, one of the people who lost $10, would be certified as the class representative. The class representative then could make decisions which would be binding on the entire class.

If the class representative agrees with the defendant to settle all these cases for a certain amount of dollars, each plaintiff is bound to either take it or leave it.

Mass Tort

Mass tort looks similar to class action, but is very different. In a mass tort case, even though you may have hundreds or thousands of claimants, their cases are all individual. These cases always remain individual, they are just filed in one common venue.

No person with a mass tort case can make a decision which binds another person in the mass tort case. You may have the option to opt into a settlement down the road, however, you are not bound to any decision under these circumstances. It is your individual case, and you maintain control over it when you are in a mass tort case.

Negative Aspects

The mass tort litigation for IVC filters focuses on temporary IVC filters. The major manufacturers of these filters are Cook as well as Bard. Bard has the majority of the market share, but both types of filters are in the spotlight in this litigation.

When the temporary filter is placed, it can be left in place for maybe six months, or up to a year, but then it should be removed. If it is not removed, part of the metal can break apart and puncture the vena cava, and can even travel to the patient’s heart and cause some severe complications.

The device as a whole can also move or migrate. When it does move or migrate, it does not capture any forming blood clots, which is the whole purpose of the device to begin with.