IVC Filter Risk Information to be Presented at “Science Day” in Cook Litigation

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal IVC filter lawsuits pending against Cook Medical has scheduled a “Science Day”, at which both sides will present information about the risks associated with the blood clot filters in a non-adversarial setting designed to educate the court about the medical and scientific issues that will come up during the litigation.

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 consolidated as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

The cases are 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 to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.

Each of the lawsuits involve similar allegations that problems with the design of the IVC blood clot filters caused plaintiffs to suffer severe, and sometimes life-threatening, injuries after the small, spider-like device moved out of position, punctured the vein or fractured, sending small pieces to the heart, lungs or other areas of the body.

In a scheduling order (PDF) issued late last week, Judge Young indicated that the Science Day will be held on March 22, 2016 at the Birch Bayh Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In complex product liability litigation, where a large number of claims have been brought alleging that individuals suffered similar injuries or medical issues as a result of the same medical device or drug, it is not uncommon for the Court to schedule such science presentations to allow the parties to explain issues that will come up in the case in a non-adversarial setting, which is typically not on the record.

While details about the Cook IVC filter science day presentations have not been released, typically each side will designate presenters, who will not be under oath or subject to cross examination. The presentations are also typically not part of any record that can be used to impeach any future testimony at trial, but are designed to assist the judge with ruling on complex issues and motions that are likely to come up during the cases.

IVC Filter Litigation

To date, more than 250 product liability lawsuits have been filed against Cook Medical over failure to adequately warn consumers or the medical community about the potential IVC filter risks.

The small blood clot filters have been implanted in the inferior vena cava (IVC) of individuals at risk of suffering a pulmonary embolism, but are designed to be removed after the risk of a blood clot has passed. Plaintiffs allege that problems with the device make them prone to fail, often requiring complex surgery to remove the IVC filter or leaving individuals with the small device permanently inside their body, where it may cause serious injury or sudden death if it moved out of position.

In addition to cases pending against Cook before Judge Young, there are also a growing number of Bard Recovery filter lawsuits and Bard G2 filter lawsuits centralized as part of a separate MDL proceeding, before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona.

As IVC filter injury lawyers continue to review and file complaints on behalf of individuals who have suffered migration and perforation problems, it is ultimately expected that several cases will be involved in the litigation.

Following the science day and the completion of discovery into general issues that impact all cases, a series of “bellwether” trials are expected to be held, which are designed to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. The outcomes of these cases may also help encourage the manufacturers to negotiate IVC filter settlements that will avoid the need for hundreds of individual trials to be scheduled throughout the U.S.

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