Parties Request Hearing on IVC Filter Bellwether Trial Selection Process in Cook MDL

Cook Medical and plaintiffs who have filed IVC filter lawsuits over problems linked to the company’s blood clot filters are at an impasse about the selection of a group of test cases, which will be prepared for early trial dates that may begin by late this year, and are asking the U.S. District Judge presiding over the litigation to hold a hearing to address the issue.

Since October 2014, all product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system over complications with Cook Celect and Cook Gunther Tulip IVC filters have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young in the Southern District of Indiana, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

There are currently at least 250 complaints filed, and the number of cases is expected to grow over the coming year, as IVC filter injury lawyers review and file additional lawsuits for individuals who have experienced problems where the small, spider like devices implanted for prevention of pulmonary embolism perforated the vena cava, migrated out of position or fractured, often sending small pieces into the heart or lungs.

Given the similar allegations raised in the claims, Judge Young previously outlined a “bellwether” process, where a small group of cases are being prepared for early trial dates, which are expected to begin after September 15, 2016. By the middle of next month, each side was previously directed to select two cases for bellwether trials, which will be used to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the IVC filter litigation.

According to a joint motion (PDF) filed on March 4, the parties indicate that they have met and conferred regarding how best to select the bellwether trials, but were unable to come to an agreement on a joint proposal to submit to the court. Therefore, the parties are seeking the Court’s assistance.

Late last month, Judge Young scheduled a “Science Day” in the MDL for March 22, at which time each side will make non-adversarial presentations regarding the IVC filter risks and scientific information that is likely to come up during the cases.

Given approaching deadlines in the MDL, the parties have asked the Court to hold a hearing on the Cook IVC filter bellwether trial selection process following the conclusion of the Science Day, and advice the parties of it’s decision as expeditiously as soon as possible so that they may continue to move the cases forward.

IVC Filter Litigation

Each of the cases involve injuries allegedly caused by retrievable blood clot filters manufactured and sold by Cook Medical, which are placed inside the vena cava to “catch” clots that may break free inside the body and travel to the lungs. Thousands of complications with IVC filters have been reported in recent years, and plaintiffs allege that the Cook products were defectively designed and sold without adequate warnings.

While the outcomes of these early bellwether trials will not be binding on other cases, they will be closely watched by individuals involved in the litigation, as they may influence eventual IVC filter settlements that would avoid the need for hundreds of cases to go to trial in courts throughout the U.S.

Similar allegations are also being presented in several hundred Bard Recovery filter lawsuits and Bard G2 filter lawsuits, involving retrievable products manufactured and sold by C.R. Bard. Those cases are centralized as part of a separate MDL, before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona.

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