There are currently approximately 1,900 individual lawsuits involving products manufactured by Cook Medical, Inc. consolidated before Judge Richard L. Young in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The cases, filed on behalf of individuals who suffered serious complications due to Cook Medical’s Celect and Gunther Tulip IVC (inferior vena cava) filters, are part of multidistrict litigation (MDL) as ordered by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. MDL is a consolidation of civil cases transferred from different jurisdictions around the country to a single United States District Court to achieve certain pre-trial efficiencies. The aim of this consolidation is to preserve judicial resources, eliminate duplicities in the fact-finding process, and prevent inconsistencies in pre-trial rulings.
IVC filters are wire devices implanted in the vena cava, the body’s largest vein, to stop blood clots from reaching the heart and lungs. These devices are used when blood thinners are not an option. Both the Celect and Gunther Tulip filters are retrievable and are designed to be removed once a patient is no longer at risk for blood clots. While permanent IVC filters have been used since the 1960s with almost no reports of failure, retrievable IVC filters were introduced in 2003. Potential complications from retrievable IVC filters include device fracture, migration, and perforation of the inferior vena cava, which can lead to embolism, organ damage, and death.
The MDL’s first bellwether trial, involving Plaintiff Elizabeth Jane Hill, is scheduled to begin on Oct. 2, 2017. As of now, the trial will move forward on Plaintiff’s strict liability failure to warn, strict liability design defect, and negligence claims.
On May 31, 2017, the MDL Court dismissed the claims of several Plaintiffs following a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by Cook Medical. In its motion, Cook Medical argued that the claims of six individual Plaintiffs were time-barred pursuant to the statutes of repose recognized by Georgia, Tennessee and Texas. Georgia and Tennessee recognize a 10-year statute of repose and measure the period of repose from the date of the first sale or use (i.e., implant surgery). Texas applies a 15-year statute of repose, with the period of repose measured from the date the Defendant sold the product at issue.
With respect to two Plaintiffs, for which Georgia law applied, the Court dismissed the Plaintiffs’ strict liability and breach of warranty claims, but allowed claims for negligence and consumer fraud to remain. With respect to the four Plaintiffs, in which Tennessee and Texas law applied, the Court dismissed all claims based on the expiration of the statute of repose. The implant dates of these four Plaintiffs ranged from September 2001 through May 2006 and their complaints were filed in 2016 and 2017.
Beasley Allen lawyers continue to investigate, review and file cases involving men and women that have suffered injuries following implantation with Cook Medical IVC filters. For more information, contact Melissa Prickett, a lawyer in our firm’s Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Melissa.Prickett@beasleyallen.com. .
Sources: Hill v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., 1:14-cv-06016, Entry on the Cook Defendants’ Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings (S.D. Ind. May 17, 2017); Sales-Orr, et al. v. Cook Medical, Inc. et al., 1:16-cv-2636, Entry on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Based on the Statute of Repose (S.D. Ind. May 31, 2017); and Amended Case Management Order #19 (Amended Bellwether Trial Plan), In re: Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales Practices and Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 2570 (S.D. Ind. Jan. 4, 2017).