According to Reuters, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, in which all federal Cook IVC filter lawsuits have been centralized, has refused the defendants’ request to delay discovery on punitive damages until after determination of any compensatory damages. Cook Medical had hoped to divide, or bifurcate, the IVC filter litigation into two separate and exclusive legal phases. But the Court rejected the defendants’ bid, citing a lack of specificity and prejudice to the plaintiffs’ ability to defend against a motion to dismiss the case based on the limited discovery.
IVC filters are small, spider-shaped devices used to prevent embolic events, such as stroke and heart attack, in at-risk patients. IVC filters are inserted into the vena cava, where the device anchors itself and prevents passing blood clots from forming or gathering near vital organs. While manufacturers claim the benefits of their devices outweigh the risks, recent evidence indicates IVC filters may be unnecessarily dangerous. In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety communication warning about the dangerous effects of long-term IVC filter use. The agency identified 921 adverse event reports in its database that concerned incidents of filter fracture, device migration, and vena caval perforation. Many of these cases resulted in death.
Additional research indicates that Cook’s Celect and Gunther Tulip IVC filters are disproportionately prone to failure, with filter tilt observed in 40 percent of patients in one study. In response to these data and the FDA communication, many patients have stepped forward and filed Cook IVC filter lawsuits. Over 100 Cook IVC filter lawsuits have been centralized in a multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of Indiana. Lawsuits filed over Bard’s Recovery and G2 IVC filters have also been consolidated into an MDL. In August, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred roughly two-dozen federal Bard IVC filter lawsuits to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
If you or someone close to you was injured by a failed Cook or Bard IVC filter, contact the lawyers at Lopez McHugh today for a free consultation. We can help you determine if a Cook or Bard IVC filter lawsuit is right for you.