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Judge Picks 2nd “Bellwether” Trial in Cook IVC Filter MDL

Judge Picks 2nd “Bellwether” Trial in Cook IVC Filter MDL

October 19, 2016 — The second “bellwether” IVC filter trial against Cook Medical has been chosen by a federal judge in Indiana who presides over nearly 1,000 lawsuits.

U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young allowed Cook Medical to pick the second trial candidate in a row — In Re: Gage v. Cook Medical.

The lawsuit (PDF) was filed by Arthur Gage, a man from Illinois who was implanted with a Günther Tulip IVC filter in April 2011. It perforated his vena cava, caused extreme pain and shortness of breath, and remains in his body because it is too risky to remove.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that it was unfair to allow Cook Medical to pick two “bellwether” trial cases in a row. They also said the case is too similar to the first trial set for October 2017 — In Re: Hill v. Cook Medical — involving a Celect IVC filter.

Judge Young sided with Cook Medical, noting that 45% of the lawsuits in the MDL involve the Günther Tulip and the Gage case is the only one on the list of “bellwether” trial candidates.

The only remaining candidate is a lawsuit (PDF) filed by Tonya Brand, a woman from Georgia who was implanted with the Celect IVC filter in 2009.

In 2011, Tonya Brand popped a 1.5-inch wire leg of the filter through the skin on her right thigh. Another broken piece was found near her spine, where it remains. The rest of the broken filter was also too risky to remove — In Re: Brand et al. v. Cook Medical (Case No. 1:14-cv-06018).

The outcomes of each “bellwether” trial are not binding on other lawsuits in the MDL, but they do help lawyers negotiate settlements. If a settlement cannot be reached, lawsuits return to state court. Cook Medical is facing 980 lawsuits in Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2570) as of October 17, 2016.

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