According to a current report more than 650 federal IVC filter lawsuits now pending against Cook Medical, Judge Campbell has chosen the first case to go to trial next year. The plaintiffs whose cases are pending in the court alleging that they were seriously injured by the implanted IVC (inferior vena cava) blood clot filter. IVC filters are used for individuals who cannot take traditional anticoagulant medications. The filters are meant to be implanted only for the time that a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) is a concern, and should be removed when the threat has passed.
As per The Legal Examiner, All federal product liability and personal injury lawsuits over complications with Cook Celect and Cook Gunther Tulip IVC filters have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Richard Young in the Southern District of Indiana, as part of a multidistrict litigation. Recently, there are more than 600 lawsuits against Cook Medical that have been filed by patients with serious injuries. The bellwether process was announced, and “a group of cases will be prepared for early trial dates, expected to begin in September, 2016.”
Judge Campbell has issued a case management order directing the selection of bellwether cases. Bellwether cases are representative cases chosen to be the first to go to trial in a large litigation. The Bard bellwether cases will be chosen from the more than 520 cases in the MDL. Judge Campbell set a deadline of March 1, 2017 for the two sides to select bellwether cases. Bellwether trials give both sides an idea of the other side’s arguments how juries will view the evidence. The outcome of these trials often influences how the rest of the cases will proceed.
The first “bellwether” trial will involve the case of Elizabeth Jane Hill, a woman from Florida who was implanted with a Cook Celect IVC filter in November 2010. In March 2011, doctors tried to remove the filter but determined that it could not be removed. More than three years after the Celect was implanted Hill developed debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms — bowel inflammation, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, and abdominal pain. During a colonoscopy, doctors discovered the Celect IVC filter embedded in her intestines. She underwent an emergency procedure at another hospital to remove the filter, but was left with permanent narrowing at the site of the excision. The longer an IVC filter remains implanted, the higher the risk of complications. The FDA recommends removing temporary filters between 29 and 54 days after implantation.
Approximately 900 lawsuits have now been filed against manufacturers of the inferior vena cava (IVC) filters. The lawsuits have similar allegations, claiming that the manufacturers failed to let patients know that the IVC filters break, tilt, and migrate from the initial insertion position and then puncture the lungs, heart, or inferior vena cava. Judge Campbell has set a series of deadlines. Any IVC filter case filed before April 2016 is eligible for inclusion in the bellwether process. By March 1, 2017, the parties will exchange lists of six proposed selections for bellwether plaintiffs. The bellwether selection process is underway and it is anticipated to conclude in January or February of next year.