Cook Medical Litigates National MDL Involving IVC Filter

North America - United States | North America | North America - Canada | United States - Indiana

Cook Medical is litigating multidistrict litigation involving its inferior vena cava (IVC) filter product. Our firm is representing Bloomington, Indiana-based Cook as national coordinating counsel, trial counsel, discovery counsel and settlement counsel in this matter, which involves Cook's Gunther Tulip and Celect IVC filter products.

In November 2017 in Elizabeth Hill v. Cook Medical LLC, the first bellwether test case involving Cook’s IVC filters, our team successfully argued against the plaintiffs’ failure to warn claim in pre-trial motions, leaving only the design claim for trial. The Evansville, Indiana, jury later unanimously concluded that the plaintiff failed to prove a defect in the plaintiff’s IVC Filter. The trial involved complex scientific issues and included examination and cross-examination of the former commissioner of the United States Food & Drug Administration, key medical experts in the fields of vascular surgery and cardiothoracic surgery, as well as company witnesses. 

In the second bellwether case to reach judgment, a federal district court granted summary judgment in favor of Cook in Arthur Gage v. Cook Inc. The decision marked the second straight win for Cook in the litigation’s bellwether cases, which were selected by the Court to test the legitimacy of the plaintiffs’ claims.

Prior to the third bellwether trial in January 2019, Brand v. Cook Medical Inc., a judge in the Southern District of Indiana granted summary judgment on all but one of the plaintiff’s claims. While the jury returned a modest plaintiff’s verdict on compensatory damages, the jury denied plaintiff’s request for tens of millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.

Following the jury verdict, the firm filed multiple post-trial motions, and in January 2020, U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young reversed the jury’s verdict and ordered that Cook would receive a new trial. The Court ordered that a new trial was warranted because the company was unfairly prejudiced by the erroneous admission of unverified accounts of other product complications allegedly resulting in patient deaths. The Court found the exhibit to be inadmissible.

In March 2020, Judge Young entered summary judgment on all counts in the fourth bellwether case, McDermitt v. Cook Medical Inc., which was set for trial in June of 2020. The Court’s entry of summary judgment was based on Indiana’s statute of repose. The Court noted that there was no evidence the plaintiff had suffered any injury related to his IVC filter in the ten years it remained in place before he sought out an attorney to file his lawsuit against Cook.

The Cook team also recently defeated class certification in Ontario, Canada.

As of November 1, 2020, over 1,300 cases have been dismissed from this multidistrict litigation.

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