Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) blood clot filters are tiny medical devices designed to stop blood clots that may break free inside the deep veins of the body and flow towards the lungs. The spider-like filters are implanted in patients that are unable to take anticoagulants and are at risk of a pulmonary embolism. However, problems with the designs of certain IVC filters have caused many severe complications and injuries.
The harm caused by the IVC products resulted in hundreds of IVC filter lawsuits nationwide. In October 2014, all Cook Medical lawsuits were centralized as part of an MDL in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. After two years of pretrial litigation, on October 18, 2016, U.S. District Judge Richard Young issued a ruling on the timing of the first three Cook IVC bellwether trials.
The three Cook IVC bellwether cases are:
- Hill v. Cook Medical, Inc., et al, 1:14-cv-6016 (Celect)
- Gage v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., 1:14-cv-1875 (Günther Tulip)
- Brand v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-6018 (Celect)
The Court ordered that Hill and Gage be ready for trial by October 2, 2017 and Brand to be trial ready by April 2, 2018.
In a recent ruling the Court noted that, “[t]he purpose of selecting bellwether cases for trial is to enhance the settlement prospects of the hundreds of other pending cases involving the Celect and Günther Tulip filters. … To further this end, the court must choose cases that are the most representative of the types of cases at issue in this MDL.” The respective injuries suffered by each of the three bellwether plaintiffs are different.
In Hill, the Celect filter was implanted prophylactically before Ms. Hill’s scheduled back surgery. Ms. Hill claims the filter migrated and perforated her vena cava and duodenum. She was 57 years old at the time of implant. After at least one failed retrieval attempt, the Celect filter was successfully removed percutaneously two years after implant using advanced retrieval techniques.
In Gage, Mr. Gage was implanted with the Günther Tulip filter after experiencing gross hematuria while on anti-coagulation medicine. He was 61 years old at the time, and has a history of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. Mr. Gage alleges that the Günther Tulip filter perforated his vena cava and cannot be removed.
And lastly, in Brand, Ms. Brand was implanted with a Celect filter prophylactically before her scheduled back surgery, as she had experienced a deep vein thrombosis in 2007. She was 51 years old at the time of the implant. More than two years after surgery, she learned that the Celect filter had two fragmented legs. An attempt to remove the filter percutaneously was abandoned after several unsuccessful attempts to snare the hook of the filter from her caval wall. Four years later, she underwent an open surgery, wherein the filter was removed but the fractured pieces from the filter could not be recovered and remain in her body.
In its ruling, the Court stated that the “best course of action” is for Hill and Gage to be on parallel case management tracks and be trial ready by October 2, 2017, and for Brand to be scheduled for April 2, 2018.
Hundreds of Cook IVC Filter cases are already filed. Experts estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of potential clients nationwide who still need attorneys. Through an IVC filter lawsuit, individuals who have experienced a fracture, failure or migration of their device may be able to obtain compensation from the manufacturer as a result of the allegedly negligent and defective design of these products.
At Paglialunga & Harris, IVC filter lawyers are providing free consultations and claim evaluations for individuals throughout the United States.