Cook IVC Blood Clot Filter Class Action Lawsuits Filed in Canada

Cook Medical faces at least two new class action lawsuits in Canada over complications with retrievable IVC blood clot filters, alleging that the devices are prone to migrate out of position, fracture or cause other health problems.

The filters are small, spider like devices implanted into the inferior vena cava (IVC) to “catch” blood clots and prevent them from traveling to the lungs, where they may cause a pulmonary embolism.

Several Cook filters sold in recent years were designed to be “retrievable”, where the device may be removed after the risk of blood clot has passed. However, individuals throughout the U.S. and Canada have reported suffering severe and often life-threatening injury after the retrievable filters moved out of position, punctured the vein or broke apart, often sending small pieces to travel to the heart or lungs.

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While hundreds of individual Cook IVC filter lawsuits have been filed in U.S. courts, two recent class action complaints were brought in Canada, alleging that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the risk of problems.

One of the Cook IVC filter class action lawsuits was filed by Wendy Kopek in the province of Alberta, and the other was filed by Arie Kuiper in Ontario.

Kopeck had a Cook blood clot filter implanted in August 2013, but when she went to have it removed in October, her doctor discovered that it had broken, with one leg piercing her jugular vein and the rest of it located in her small intestines. The doctor told Kopek that it is too dangerous at this time to attempt to remove the filter, according to the complaint, indicating that she will now have to take blood thinners for life.

Kuiper has had two surgical attempts to remove his Cook IVC filter, but indicates that both failed and doctors also now say he may be stuck with the device for rest of his life. According to a report by CTV News, Kuiper’s doctors will attempt to retrieve the IVC filter one more time next week, but warn that it is possible the device is blocking the flow of blood, causing him to experience dizziness.

Both cases seek class action status in Canada, to represent any consumers from those provinces who have suffered similar problems with Cook IVC filters.

IVC Filter Litigation in U.S.

In the United States, Cook faces more than 200 separate IVC filter lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, which raise nearly identical allegations.

Since October 2014, the federal litigation against Cook Medical has been consolidated as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, with all cases centralized before U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young in the Southern District of Indiana to avoid duplicative discovery into common issues in the cases, reduce the risk of contradictory pretrial rulings from different Courts and the serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.

As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings, a small group of cases against Cook are being prepared for early “bellwether” trials, which are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout cases in the U.S. If Cook fails to reach settlements in the IVC filter cases or otherwise resolve the litigation, dozens of individual cases may go to trial throughout the U.S.

Similar claims are also raised in a growing number of Bard Recovery filter lawsuits and Bard G2 filter lawsuits, which involve other retrievable designs. Those cases filed in the U.S. against C.R. Bard have been centralized as part of a separate MDL in the District of Arizona.

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