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3 Bellwether Lawsuits Chosen in Cook IVC Filter MDL

Sep 2, 2016

Three lawsuits have been selected to go to trial in the Cook inferior vena cava (IVC) filter litigation in the Southern District of Indiana. A multidistrict litigation (MDL) was established for Cook IVC lawsuits in October 2014, with Judge Richard L. Young presiding. More than 500 lawsuits have been consolidated so far.

IVC filters are small, cage-like devices placed in the inferior vena cava, a major vein transporting blood from the lower part of the body back to the heart. The IVC filter is used in patients who are at risk for pulmonary embolism, where a blood clot breaks off from one of the deep veins (deep vein thrombosis) and gets stuck in the lungs. Pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening condition. IVC filters are intended to prevent PE by catching blood clots in the IVC before they reach the heart and lungs.

Lawsuits in the Cook IVC filter litigation allege that the filters can fracture, sometimes perforating the blood vessel walls and puncturing other internal structures. The suits name Cook Celect and Cook Gunther Tulip Filters.

Cook Celect and Cook Gunther Tulip Filters are retrievable and are meant to be removed once the risk of pulmonary embolism is no longer present.

Two of the bellwether cases involve the Cook Celect while the third involves the Gunther Tulip filter. Bellwether cases are the first lawsuits in a mass litigation to go to trial and are selected to represent the entire litigation. The outcome of a bellwether trial is used to determine how the other lawsuits will proceed.

The first bellwether case scheduled for trial was filed on behalf of a Florida woman who was implanted with the Cook Celect filter in November 2010. The filter was scheduled for removal in March 2011, but when the time came her doctors determined that it could not be done without endangering the plaintiff. Efforts to remove the device were abandoned.

The plaintiff alleges that afterwards, she suffered from gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Doctors performed an endoscopy due to her symptoms and learned that the filter perforated the IVC and migrated to the duodenum, the first portion of the small intestine. The plaintiff alleges she was hospitalized to remove the filter, which caused a narrowing at the explant site.

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