Pennsylvania Record

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Two new mass torts for Philadelphia: Vena Cava Filters and Essure

State Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Oct 17, 2019

Philadelphia City Hall

PHILADELPHIA – As the year begins to draw to a close, filings in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas’ Complex Litigation Center have increased with the presence of two new mass tort programs for Vena Cava Filters and the Essure birth control device, both of which feature a number of out-of-state plaintiffs and counsel.

The CLC is a special program for the resolution of mass torts like asbestos, Risperdal and Xarelto. It has traditionally been a haven for out-of-state plaintiffs and made headlines recently when a Risperdal jury awarded a whopping $8 billion in punitive damages to one plaintiff.

The Vena Cava Filter cases are levied against Rex Medical L.P. of Conshohocken and Argon Medical Devices, Inc. of Plano, Texas, who allegedly manufactured a defective model of vena cava filter - a device used to prevent pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs).

“An IVC filter is a device that is designed to filter or ‘catch’ blood clots (called thrombi) that travel from the lower portions of the body to the heart and lungs. IVC filters may be designed to be implanted, either permanently or temporarily, in the human body, more specifically, within the inferior vena cava,” the allegations state.

Rex’s Option Vena Cava Filter entered the market in June 2009, after receiving clearance from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

The complaints say the defendants negligently manufactured a defective and unsafe product, did not warn customers of its flaws and put out a product for sale that may lead a patient to suffer “severe health side effects, including, but not limited to: hemorrhage; cardiac/pericardial tamponade; cardiac arrhythmia and other symptoms similar to myocardial infarction; perforations of tissue, vessels and organs; and other severe personal injuries and diseases.”

The complaints allege counts of negligence, strict product liability with failure to warn, strict product liability with design defect, strict product liability with manufacturing defect, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of merchantability and negligent misrepresentation plus punitive damages.

Now listed are 761 cases in the Vena Cava Filter series in the CLC.

In the most recent 10 cases filed, they feature out-of-state plaintiffs from various towns in Massachusetts, South Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New York and Georgia, and with legal representation from Feldman Pinto in Philadelphia, and Lopez McHugh in Moorestown.

Meanwhile, cases involving the Essure birth control device have also been filed against defendants Bayer Corporation and Bayer U.S. LLC in Pittsburgh, plus Bayer Essure Inc., Bayer Healthcare, LLC and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Whippany, N.J.

Essures are metal coils placed in a woman’s fallopian tubes that serve as a blockage device to prevent pregnancy.

“Essure is a Class III medical device that received Conditional Premarket Approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it was marketed to the public. The complainants allege that, instead of working as intended, the Essure device ‘migrates from the fallopian tubes, perforates organs, breaks into pieces and/or corrodes. Each plaintiff had Essure implanted and, as a result, suffered severe and permanent injuries,” U.S. District Court Judge John R. Padova said.

The plaintiffs brought a number of claims sounding in negligence against Bayer – specifically, negligent training, negligent risk management, breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation and negligent failure to warn, alleging the company failed to warn doctors, patients or the FDA about the supposed dangers of the Essure device.

Now listed are 185 cases in the Essure Products Liability series in the CLC.

In the most recent 10 cases filed, they feature out-of-state plaintiffs from various towns in Nebraska, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Iowa, Missouri, New York and Georgia, and with legal representation again from Feldman Pinto in Philadelphia, and Simon Eddins & Greenstone, in Dallas.

Stanley Thompson, Director of the CLC, was not able to be reached for comment on the emergence of both programs.

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Organizations in this Story

Philadelphia County Court of Common PleasBayer Healthcare PharmaceuticalsJohnson & JohnsonARGON MEDICAL