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Sculptor’s Estate Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The widow of a noted Chautauqua County sculptor is suing Boston Scientific Corporation.

Connie Poulin, the widow of former area sculptor David Poulin, recently filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Chautauqua County over the company’s use of an IVC filter, a vascular filter used by surgeons to prevent blood clots from flowing to the lungs.

Poulin had surgery at WCA Hospital in May 1999 after injuring his left Achilles tendon. Shortly after the surgery, Poulin complained of shortness of breath, heaviness in his chest and hypoxia. A second surgery was performed during which a Boston Scientific Greenfield vena cava filter was installed. Poulin was then sent to the Cleveland Clinic for a nine-day treatment.

It was 21 years later when Poulin experienced shortness of breath and respiratory distress at his Beaufort, S.C., home and called his wife, who was vacationing in New York, and asked to send the neighbors for help. Poulin passed away a short time later.

The lawsuit document states the cause of Poulin’s death was bilateral occlusive pulmonary thrombo-emboli with contributing inferior vena cava filter thrombosis with perforation — in other words, the filter allegedly did not keep the blood clot from reaching Poulin’s heart or lungs.

“Upon information and belief, Defendant’s negligent reckless, wanton, and careless failure to notify patients, including Decedent David Poulin of the defective nature of its Greenfield IVC Filter, was the cause of the Decedent’s death on June 15, 2020,” the lawsuit states. “Upon information and belief, at the time of the implantation of the Greenfield IVC Filter, Defendant Boston Scientific negligently, recklessly, wantonly, and carelessly failed to provide proper and adequate warnings to the potential users/recipients of the product, including Decedent David Poulin, of the hazards associated with the Boston Scientific Greenfield IVC filter, including, but not limited to failing to properly and adequately warn that a person might suffer personal injury as a result of implantation of the Boston Scientific Greenfield IVC filter.”

Mrs. Poulin is represented by Samuel Capizzi of Collins and Collins LLC in Buffalo; Charles LaDuca of Cuneo, Gilbert and LaDuca LLP of Washington, D.C., and Michael J. Flannery of Cuneo, Gilbert and LaDuca LLP of St. Louis.

Boston Scientific has not yet responded to the lawsuit in county court. But, similar lawsuits have been filed over the years.

An April 29 decision by the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found another plaintiff in a similar case had not proved Boston Scientific’s warnings were inadequate as a matter of law. Richard Greisberg had alleged Boston Scientific didn’t provide warnings for possible metal failures, fractures, tilting, migration, penetration or bleeding, and heart damage to either the patient or his multiple physicians. Specific claims included failure to warn; design defects, breach of express warranty; fraudulent misrepresentation; and fraudulent concealment.

The judge in the case ruled Greisberg failed to plead specific facts alleging deliberate concealment or nondisclosure of harmful effects of the Boston Scientific Greenfield IVC Filter nor pleads a specific defect claim.

“Here, Plaintiff does not allege facts indicating that the filter’s risks outweighed its utility or that the filter could have been alternatively designed,” the judge wrote. “Accordingly, the Court dismisses Plaintiff’s claim to the extent he is asserting a claim for design defect.”

Mrs. Poulin makes similar claims to the Greisberg case. She and her attorneys specifically list failure to warn as their first cause of action, followed by causes of action for strict product liability – design defect; a cause of action for implied warranty, a cause of action for express warranty; a cause of action for consumer fraud and unfair and deceptive trade practices; a sixth cause of action for wrongful death; and a seventh cause of action for loss of consortium suffered by Mrs. Poulin. She also asks for punitive damages, though no amount is listed in the filing.

“Defendant’s misrepresentations included knowingly withholding material information from the medical community and the public, including Plaintiffs’ physicians, concerning the safety of their Boston Scientific Greenfield IVC Filters. Defendant’s conduct was willful, wanton, and undertaken with a conscious indifference to the consequences that consumers of their product faced, including Plaintiffs. At all times material hereto, Defendant knew and recklessly disregarded the fact that its Boston Scientific Greenfield IVC Filter has an unreasonably high rate of tilt, fracture, migration and/or perforation,” the lawsuit filing states.

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