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Clashes Over Selection of IVC Bellwether Case

Aug 11, 2016

The process of determining initial IVC filter bellwether cases in In Re Cook Medical IVC Filter MDL 2440 litigation is beginning. Plaintiffs and defendants, however, do not agree on which cases to use.

In October 2014, the Cook IVC filter lawsuits were consolidated into a single multidistrict litigation (MDL). Bellwether cases are meant to help potentially predict later proceedings and guide settlement negotiations. District Judge Richard L. Young in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana will oversee the proceedings.

Cook Medical and the plaintiffs have each submitted very different lists of possible IVC filter bellwether cases. Parties formed their lists from a group of approximately 400 lawsuits currently pending in court. From these 400 potential cases, each party chose seven cases meant to represent the complete litigation.

According to plaintiffs, the defendants have chosen potential IVC filter bellwether cases that do not represent the litigation as a whole. Two of the seven possible IVC filter bellwether cases chosen by the defendants were filed over problems with Gunther Tulip filters. However, the majority of the cases were filed over Celect filters. Two others include patients suffering from recurrent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but plaintiffs claim that DVT is not a common problem in a significant number of lawsuits. Further, two of the defendants’ suggested cases involve cases with pre-existing clotting disorders, which plaintiffs allege blurs lines with IVC filter injuries. Another case included a patient whose IVC filter perforated the vena cava, a common complication. In that case, the filter was successfully removed which plaintiffs believe is not representative of the litigation as successful filter removal is not the case for most of the other plaintiffs.

Both parties were required to suggest cases representing the litigation as a whole, primarily alleging injuries from the elect IVC filter due to migration, IVC perforation, and an inability to be removed.

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