Cook Medical is facing a number of lawsuits over its inferior vena cava (IVC) filters. The devices are implanted in the inferior vena cava, a major vein, to prevent blood clots from reaching the heart or lungs. These small cage-like filters are often used in patients who cannot take traditional blood thinners. Some IVC filters are permanent, while others are retrievable.
Plaintiffs in the litigation allege that their IVC filters caused injury. Some claim that their filters migrated from its original location. The suits also allege that the filters fractured, and that the broken pieces caused serious complications.
A federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) was established for IVC filter lawsuits against Cook Medical. Cases have been consolidated in the Southern District of Indiana. The first trials are expected to begin in early September.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation establishes MDLs when there are many lawsuits with similar allegations. Consolidating lawsuits under one court before one judge makes proceedings more efficient. Bellwether cases are the first of these lawsuits to go to trial; the outcome can have a significant impact on the remaining litigation, as they are used to gauge how pending lawsuits will result.
C.R. Bard is also facing lawsuits over its IVC filters. An MDL has been centralized to the District of Arizona, where some 500 cases have been consolidated.