Cook Medical Seeks to Overturn $3M Verdict in IVC Filter Bellwether Lawsuit

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson
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After a federal jury awarded $3 million in damages to a woman who experienced severe complications with an IVC filter, Cook Medical is calling for the U.S. District Judge presiding over thousands of similar claims to dismiss the lawsuit or order a new trial.

The case was a bellwether trial involving claims brought by Tonya Brand, who experienced problems with a Cook Celect IVC filter, a small blood clot filter designed to prevent a pulmonary embolism, which she claimed was defectively designed and failed.

A federal jury in Indiana agreed, and awarded her $3 million in compensatory damages last month.

Allegations raised during the trial are nearly identical to those to be presented in more than 5,400 other Cook IVC filter lawsuits pending in the federal court system, which have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young in the Southern District of Indiana as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Plaintiffs each raise similar allegations that Cook Celect, Cook Gunther Tulip or other inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, implanted to catch blood clots, are prone to migrate out of position, puncture internal organs, fracture or cause other serious health complications.

As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings in the MDL, a small group of representative cases have been selected for a “bellwether” process, which were prepared for early trial dates to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the litigation.

On March 12, Cook Medical filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law (PDF) in the Brand case, arguing the verdict should be reversed since the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence for a jury to rule in her favor. The company also filed a motion for a new trial (PDF), claiming the court erred in allowing evidence which should have been inadmissible, and arguing the court allowed testimony from unqualified experts.

While the outcome of this case and other Cook IVC bellwether trials are not binding on remaining claims in the litigation, the results of this case are being closely watched and may influence any negotiations to reach IVC filter settlements which would avoid the need for hundreds of individual cases to be set for trial nationwide.

In November 2017, the first Cook IVC filter case to go before a jury resulted in a defense verdict in favor of the manufacturer, and the Court granted a summary judgment motion in a second bellwether case before trial. However, in May 2018, a Texas jury awarded $1.2 million in damages in a claim brought on behalf of a Houston firefighter who had a Cook filter migrate out of position and perforate his aorta.

In addition to cases against Cook Medical, there are also a large number of Bard Recovery filter lawsuits and Bard G2 filter lawsuits pending in a separate MDL, which is centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in Arizona.

If Cook and Bard fail to settle or otherwise resolve the claims during the MDL process, the Courts may begin remanding large numbers of claims back to U.S. District Courts throughout the country for individual trial dates in the future.

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1 comment

  1. Cheryl Reply

    First, as I lay here 52yr old female, non-smoker, on oxygen severe internal injuries, hepatic, venous hypertension. 6 pills a day,
    I am appauled at Cook Medicals continuing manipulations of courts & Judge Young permisiveness in favor of Cook.
    Second, i had no pre-exsisting conditions prior to Gunther Tulip fracturing an migrating thru out my body, a complicated open extraction, ICU, reconstruction of inferior vena cava by my Cook Medical compensated physician of U.S.C. I did not kno this at time of referral. I have 2 sets of records one reads as a complication free procedure, the procedure ledger not so much.
    Testimony from an uncredited medical professional,. who deems them credited as my physician has been a paid spokesperson for Cook Med & Cook Inc for a decade, postponing my surgery months while attending conferences and presenting for Cook products in compensated symposiums
    …lastly my current attorney I just discovered worked for Fengre & Daniels I am seeking new representation or be forced to proceed pro’ se..

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