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Judge Picks Case for 1st Cook IVC Filter “Bellwether” Trial

Judge Picks Case for 1st Cook IVC Filter “Bellwether” Trial

July 25, 2016 — The judge overseeing more than 650 federal IVC filter lawsuits has chosen a case for the first “bellwether” trial in 2017.

In the MDL process, many individual lawsuits are consolidated into one court. Unlike a class action, the outcome of “bellwether” trials is not binding on other lawsuits in the MDL. Instead, lawyers use the outcome to determine settlement value for similar cases.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young issued an order (PDF) on July 19, naming the following three cases for the first trials:

  • Brand v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-6018 (Celect)
  • Gage v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., 1:14-cv-1875 (Günther Tulip)
  • Hill v. Cook Medical, Inc., et al, 1:14-cv-6016 (Celect)

The first lawsuit (PDF) that will go to trial was filed in October 2014. The plaintiff, Florida resident Elizabeth Jane Hill, was implanted with the Cook Celect IVC filter in November 2010.

In March 2011, doctors tried to removed the filter but determined that it could not be removed. Hill developed debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms — bowel inflammation, diarrhea, fatigue, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

After undergoing a colonoscopy, doctors discovered the Celect perforated through her vena cava and into her intestines. At that time — more than three years after the Celect was implanted — another hospital was able to remove the filter.

The longer an IVC filter remains implanted, the higher the risk of complications. The FDA recommends removing temporary filters between 29 and 54 days after implantation. However, studies have found that 43% of Celect filters perforate the vena cava within two months.

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