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Court Selects First Three Cook IVC Filter Bellwether Trials

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On July 19, 2016, the Cook IVC MDL court selected three cases that will be the first to go to trial in the consolidated federal litigation.

In October 2014, all Cook IVC filter lawsuits were consolidated into one court in the Southern District of Indiana. Judge Richard L. Young was appointed to oversee the proceedings.

Since then, many plaintiffs who claim to have been injured by implanted Cook IVC filters have filed claims in the MDL. Currently, over 500 cases are pending there. For the last year-and-a-half, both sides have been working toward selecting a small number of cases to proceed to trial.

These cases are called “bellwether” trials, and are planned to gauge the jury’s reactions to the evidence. Depending on the outcome of these early trials, the two sides may be more likely to return to the table to negotiate settlements for the remaining cases.

The first three trials are expected to begin court in 2017.

 MDL Court Selects First Three Cook IVC Filter Lawsuits to Go to Trial

Cook IVC filters are small, cage-like devices that are implanted into the main vein (the inferior vena cava) that runs from the legs back to the heart and lungs. They are designed to trap and hold potential blood clots until they dissipate, reducing the risk of a blood clot in the lung (called a “pulmonary embolism” or PE).

Plaintiffs claim, however, that Cook’s IVC filters were defectively designed, as they tended to migrate out of position, perforate the vein, and sometimes puncture other internal organs. They can also become a blood clot hazards themselves. The two main devices at issue are the Cook Celect and the Cook Gunther Tulip Filters, which are both supposed to be retrieved after the risk of PE has passed.

Out of the three cases that were chosen to be the first three tried in the litigation, two concern the Cook Celect filter, and one concerns the Gunther Tulip filter.

 Cook IVC Filter Migrates to Small Intestine

The first one to go to court involves a plaintiff from Florida, who was implanted with a Cook Celect filter on November 17, 2010. Several months later, in March 2011, the plaintiff was scheduled to have the filter removed. Unfortunately, attempts to remove the device were unsuccessful. Doctors determined that the filter could not be removed without endangering the patient, and they abandoned any further attempts.

After that, the plaintiff claims she suffered from complications, including gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. These symptoms were so persistent that doctors performed an endoscopy procedure. During that procedure, they discovered that the Cook filter had perforated the inferior vena cava and made its way into her duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.

The plaintiff then had to be admitted to the hospital to remove her filter. It left behind a narrowing at the explant site of the inferior vena cava and the bowel.

The plaintiff asserts counts of strict product liability, negligence, and breach of warranties, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000.