July 25, 2016 — The federal judge presiding over more than 650 IVC filter lawsuits against Cook Medical has chosen a case for the first “bellwether” trial next year.
The outcome of the trials is not binding on other lawsuits in the MDL, but it can help lawyers determine the settlement value of similar cases.
On July 19, U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young issued an order (PDF) selecting the following three cases for trials:
- Brand v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-6018 (Celect)
- Gage v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., 1:14-cv-1875 (Günther Tulip)
- Hill v. Cook Medical, Inc., et al, 1:14-cv-6016 (Celect)
The first lawsuit (PDF) to be tried was filed in October 2014 by Elizabeth Jane Hill, a woman from Florida who was implanted with the Cook Celect vena cava filter in November 2010.
In March 2011, the decision was made to remove the filter — but all attempts failed. It was determined that the IVC filter could not be removed and further attempts were abandoned.
Hill developed severe gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and inflammatory changes in her bowel. Due to persistent symptoms, she underwent an endoscopy procedure.
At that time, doctors discovered that the Cook Celect had perforated through her vena cava and into the upper part of her intestines (duodenum). Another hospital was able to remove the filter, but she was left with permanent narrowing at the site of her injury.
The Celect is a temporary filter that should be removed between 29 and 53 days after implantation. However, it was implanted in Ms. Hill for three years. The FDA has issued numerous warnings about IVC filter complications that become more likely the longer it is implanted.
Over 1,500 lawsuits have been filed against Cook Medical and C.R. Bard. The companies are accused of aggressively promoting temporary filters and downplaying the risk of side effects. In one study, 43% of the Cook Celect filters perforated the vena cava after two months.
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