A medical device company facing a 1,700-case mass tort over defective vein filters can’t keep its financial records from people who sued it, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled, rejecting the company’s argument that limited partnerships’ financial information should remain private like an individual’s.
The three-judge panel’s ruling came in the litigation against Rex Medical LP over alleged defects in its Option Elite line of IVC filters, which Rex eventually sold to another company for $160 million — $50 million of which the plaintiffs allege was transferred from the company to two of its limited partners and its president in 2016 shortly after the first of the cases was filed in Philadelphia.
Rex, “a limited partnership, does not enjoy the same privacy and policy considerations as individuals who are directed to disclose personal financial information. We thus quash this appeal,” Judge Daniel McCaffrey wrote.
The company, which claims it has a negative net worth, appealed the trial court’s order instructing it to disclose its net worth, financial statements dating back to 2014, Option Elite profits, and disposition of sale proceeds from the Option Elite line. Rex argued the mass tort plaintiffs were attempting to use that litigation’s discovery process to supplement their separate fraudulent conveyance case against the company’s officers.
Rex argued the documents request was not just a determination of its wealth, but also an inquiry into net worth, receipts of money, and decisions about how money was spent.
Forcing Rex to “produce highly private information … that necessarily exposes highly private information of nonparties requires immediate review, because of the havoc that can be wrought from disseminating broadly information,” Rex argued in its brief.
But Judge McCaffrey said Rex failed to show its appeal implicated a right that was “too important to be denied.”
Directing a limited partnership to disclose financial information is different from asking an individual to do it, where their personal information might be revealed.
The multiple lawsuits against Rex were consolidated into a mass tort in Philadelphia in 2017. The main allegation is that the Option Elite filter —intended to stop blood clots — had a high rate of failure after being implanted in the inferior vena cava, causing injury to the patient.