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Cook Medical and lawyers representing plaintiffs who are pursuing an IVC filter lawsuit against the company met this week to discuss resolving hundreds of claims pending nationwide, but a settlement was not reached.
There are currently more than 500 product liability lawsuits pending in the federal court system involving problems with Cook Celect and Cook Gunther Tulip IVC Filters, which are retrievable devices implanted into the vena cava to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs and causing a pulmonary embolism.
Plaintiffs raise similar allegations, claiming that the small, spider like devices were defectively designed and are prone to fail, tilt out of position, puncture the vein or fracture, sending small pieces throughout the body.
Given the similar questions of fact and law raised in the litigation, cases filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. The lawsuits are centralized before U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young in the Southern District of Indiana to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.
Before a series of bellwether trials are expected to begin early next year, to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation, the court scheduled an IVC filter settlement conference in an attempt to negotiate a resolution for the claims between Cook Medical and plaintiffs.
According to a docket entry (PDF) posted this week, attorneys serving in leadership roles for both the plaintiffs and defendants met with U.S. Magistrate Judge Tim Baker on June 27. While discussions were held, the Court indicates that no settlement for the IVC filter lawsuits was reached.
If an agreement is not reached in the coming months, a series of bellwether trials are expected to go before juries. Following those test trials, if Cook Medical fails to settle the IVC filter lawsuits, hundreds of cases may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates.
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 Arizona for cases involving products manufactured by C.R. Bard. Another series of early bellwether trials are expected in that litigation as well over the next year.