IVC filters have been the subject of ongoing debate, and IVC filter manufacturers continue to face mounting accusations that they are responsible for injuries caused to patients. In 2014, all lawsuits filed against Cook Group Inc. at the federal level were consolidated into a single court in the Southern District of Indiana. Most recently, plaintiffs and defendants submitted a list of cases they thought suitable for bellwether trials – initial trials used to predict and guide decisions in future legal action.
Potential Bellwether Cases Not Representative of Group
About 14 potential bellwether cases were in question, as both sides disagreed on the other's selections. Plaintiffs claim Cook chose cases not representative of the whole.
According to the plaintiffs, at least two of the cases involve claims about Gunther Tulip filters, despite the majority of the cases being filed by those with Celect filters. They also pointed out two of the cases involve recurrent deep vein thrombosis, which is not representative of the complications present in most cases. Still two more cases involve plaintiffs with pre-existing conditions, which can be confusing to juries. Finally, one case involves a plaintiff with a filter that perforated the vena cava, but the filter was eventually removed successfully.
Plaintiffs aren't the only side taking issue with the potential bellwether cases. Defendants criticized the choices of the plaintiffs because they chose cases that did not involve the Gunther Tulip IVC filter and placed too much emphasis on device fracture and removal claims. They believe those cases are no more representative of the whole than their own choices.
Ultimately, the defendants submitted a final list of three cases that appear to be headed to trial in spring 2017.
Most Recent Cook Lawsuit
All of the debate over the bellwether cases comes amidst another lawsuit filed against Cook by three different patients who allegedly suffered complications soon after their retrievable IVC devices were implanted.
The plaintiffs in the case, filed in the Missouri Circuit Court Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, claim their filters were defective, leading to permanent injuries and impairments directly related to complications caused by the filters. All three plaintiffs received filters to prevent blood clots and suffered side effects named in other lawsuits, including device migration, breaking, and tilting from the implantation site.