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IVC FILTER UPDATE: COURT ISSUES SCHEDULING ORDER IN BLOOD CLOT FILTER LITIGATION

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With the second IVC filter bellwether trial against Cook Medical currently scheduled to start in late April 2018, on January 9, 2018, U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young issued a Scheduling Order in MDL 2570, the multidistrict litigation currently pending in the Southern District of Indiana (In Re: Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2570).

INFERIOR VENA CAVA FILTERS

cook-ivc-filterIVC filters are intended to help people recovering from accidents and surgeries by preventing potentially fatal blood clots. Doctors insert the device into a patient’s inferior vena cava, the main vein in the body that returns deoxygenated blood from the lower body back to the heart.  The filters are small, umbrella-like devices that act as a “net” to capture blood clots which could result in a pulmonary embolism. However, some IVC filters have been linked to serious and sometimes fatal complications.

In serious cases, after implant, the metal limbs of the filter can perforate the vena cava, migrate out of position or break apart, sending fragments or metal shards into the patient’s heart or lungs.  In some instances, the filter can become imbedded making removal of the temporary filter simply too dangerous and life threatening.

PURPOSE OF BELLWETHER TRIALS

The MDL Court picks bellwether cases from a list of recommendations from defendant and plaintiff lawyers. Bellwether cases are supposed to represent the majority of pending IVC filter cases and are intended to gauge how juries may react to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.

The first Cook IVC filter bellwether trial, which concluded in November, resulted in a defense verdict (notably, this case was selected for trial by the Cook defendants).  In that case, the plaintiff Elizabeth Jane Hill had a Cook Celect filter implanted before her scheduled back surgery.  The device eventually migrated and perforated her vena cava and small intestine.  After one failed removal attempt, a surgeon successfully removed Ms. Hill’s filter.   In this second bellwether case (also a defense pick), Illinois plaintiff Arthur Gage alleges his Günther Tulip filter perforated his vena cava and cannot be removed.  According to Mr. Gage’s lawsuit, he began experiencing extreme chest pain and shortness of breath immediately after receiving the implant and was told that the device had perforated his vena cava and could not be removed due to the high risk of death during the procedure.

The Court’s recent Scheduling Order in MDL 2570 provides:

  • JANUARY 19, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. – Hearing on pending Motions for Summary Judgment and Daubert issues in the Gage v Cook matter.
  • FEBRUARY 15, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. – Status hearing
  • MARCH 7, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. – Status hearing
  • MARCH 22, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. – Hearing on pending Motions in Limine in the Gage v. Cook.
  • APRIL 12, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. – Final Pretrial Conference in the Gage case.

In addition to cases pending against Cook Medical, a large number of similar Bard IVC filter lawsuits are pending in a separate MDL, which has been centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona for cases involving products manufactured by C.R. Bard. The first Bard IVC bellwether trial is scheduled to begin on March 14, 2018.

IVC FILTER ACTIONS

Paglialunga & Harris PS is currently accepting cases on behalf of people who suffered permanent and continuous injuries as a direct result of IVC filters.  If you or a loved one has had an IVC filter implanted, please contact us immediately.

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