Court Overseeing Cook Medical IVC Filter Lawsuits Revises Bellwether Trial Schedule

Published on January 23, 2017 by Sandy Liebhard

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The federal court overseeing hundreds of IVC filter lawsuits filed against Cook Medical Inc. has revised its bellwether trial plan. According to an Amended Order issued on January 4, 2017, start dates for the litigation’s first three trials have each been pushed back by a few weeks.

There are currently more than 1,370 cases pending in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, where product liability claims involving Cook Medical’s Celect and Gunther Tulip blood clot filters have been centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings.  The litigation’s bellwether trials will involve claims representative of others pending in the proceeding. It is hoped that the verdicts in these few cases will provide some clues as to how juries might rule in similar IVC filter lawsuits.

The Court was initially scheduled to begin bellwether trials on October 2, 2017; April 2, 2018; and August 6, 2018. Per the Amended Order, the first trial will now begin on October 23, 2017. The second trial will begin on April 30, 2018, while the third is now scheduled to start on September 10, 2018.

IVC Filters: What’s the Problem?

IVC filters are implanted into the inferior vena cava in patients at risk for pulmonary embolism, but for whom traditional blood-thinning drugs are contraindicated. Once in place, they intercept any blood clots that have broken loose before they can travel to the heart or lungs.  Plaintiffs involved in this litigation claim that Cook Medical’s  Celect and Gunther Tulip IVC filters are associated with high rates of fracture, migration, and organ perforation, making the devices unreasonably dangerous. They further claim that the company has long been aware of these issues, but failed to provide doctors with appropriate safety warnings.

In 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) disclosed that retrievable IVC filters, such as those at the center of the Cook Medical litigation, had been associated with more than 900 adverse events, including incidents of migration, fracture and embolization, and perforation of the inferior vena cava. A second alert issued by the agency in 2014 advised that retrievable blood clot filters should be removed within 29 to 54 days of their implantation in order to reduce the risk of patient harm.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP continues to investigate injuries and complications allegedly associated with IVC filters. To learn more about this litigation, please contact our office by calling (888) 674-0093.

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