Suing Cook Medical for IVC Filter Injuries

Cook Medical manufacturers inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, which are presently the subject of recalls and mass tort litigation for reported defects. If you have been harmed by a Cook IVC filter, you could recover potentially significant money compensation from an IVC filter lawsuit.

Cook has been ordered to pay out $3 million and $1.2 million in two separate IVC filter lawsuits.

1. General information

A division of Cook Group Incorporated, Cook Medical produces 16,000 medical products for 135 different countries. Founded in 1963, Cook Medical is headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana and employs about 12,000 people. The general phone number is (800) 457-4500.

2. Cook's IVC filter products

At this time, Cook manufactures these IVC filters:

  • Celect™ Platinum Vena Cava Filter
  • Günther Tulip® Vena Cava Filter
  • Bird's Nest® Vena Cava Filter

Constructed from metal alloys, IVC filters are tiny, spidery-looking devices. It is designed to remain put inside of a vein for the purpose of stopping existing blood clots from traveling any further.

3. Cook's IVC filter defects

Thousands of Greenfield filters have allegedly traveled and/or perforated patients.

The two main design defects of Cook's vena cava filters allegedly are:

  1. the filter's "feet" perforates the patient's venal walls; and
  2. the filter "tilts" to a position which is not as effective for catching blood clots.1

Consequently, physicians are advised to remove IVC filters as soon as they become unnecessary in order to avoid these IVC filter complications.2

4. Recalled Cook IVC filters

Currently, the FDA is recalling the Celect Platinum Vena Cava Filter Set for Jugular Vein Approach for labeling problems. This is likely a temporary recall until the device instructions are updated.

5. Cook IVC filters lawsuits

Patients implanted with Cook inferior vena cava filters may have grounds to bring the following claims against the manufacturer:

  • negligence,
  • product liability (defective product), and/or
  • marketing defects (failure to warn)

At this time, there are thousands of pending IVC lawsuits against Cook which have been consolidated into the following MDL ("multi-district litigation").

MDLs are different from class actions in that every plaintiff's case remains separate, but they are similar in that they streamline the pretrial process. The judge permits a few of the cases to go to trial, and the results will dictate how both sides will proceed with settlement negotiations.

All three of the Cook MDL bellwether trials have concluded. Although the first two trials did not find Cook liable,3 the third case did:

On February 1, 2019, the jury verdict ordered the manufacturer to pay $3 million to the plaintiff, Tonya Brand. Her Celect IVC filter fractured, causing one of the "struts" pop out of her leg; meanwhile, the remaining pieces are irretrievable and will stay in her body indefinitely. Cook is appealing the verdict.4

Note that a recent trial in Houston, Texas -- separate from the MDL -- also resulted in a hefty judgment against Cook. The plaintiff alleged that his IVC filter tilted, piercing his duodenum and aorta. Two surgeries later, the device is still irretrievable. After finding that the Cook did not sufficiently warn the surgeon about the filter's risk, the jury ordered Cook to pay $1.2 million.5

6. Compensation for Cook IVC filter injuries

People who have been implanted with a defective inferior vena cava filter may be able to recover money to cover their: 

  • doctor's bills,
  • pain and suffering,
  • lost salary (including tips and bonuses),
  • lost earning capacity, and
  • any other out-of-pocket costs

Should the case reach trial -- and if the plaintiff wins -- the jury can order Cook to pay out "punitive damages" in addition to the compensatory damages listed above. Punitive damages are often much larger than compensatory, and they serve to deter others from committing the same wrongs the defendant did.

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7. Seeking legal counsel to sue Cook

Each state has its own laws -- including its own time restrictions ("IVC filter statute of limitations") -- for filing a claim. Consequently, people injured from any types of IVC filters are advised to retain an IVC filter lawyer swiftly. They can then discuss the patient's available options and what legal avenues could yield the highest financial rewards.

At Shouse Law Group, our personal injury attorneys have wide-ranging experience in all kinds of personal injury cases, including defective medical devices. For a free consultation, contact us today at (855) 396-0370.

Also see our article on Bard inferior vena filter lawsuits and Greenfield inferior vena filter lawsuits.

Legal References

  1. Durack JC, Westphalen AC, Kekulawela S, Bhanu SB, Avrin DE, Gordon RL, Kerlan RK, "Perforation of the IVC: rule rather than exception after longer indwelling times for the Günther Tulip and Celect retrievable filters", Cardiovascular Interventional Radiology 35(2):299-308 (April 2012).
  2. Alexander Meyer, Frank Schönleben, Marco Heinz, Werner Lang, "Perforated Inferior Vena Cava Filters as the Cause of Unclear Abdominal Pain," Annals of Vascular Surgery, Volume 27, Issue 3, Pages 354 (April 2013).
  3. Hill v. Cook Medical, Inc., 1:14-cv-6016 (2017); Gage v. Cook Medical, Inc., et al., 1:14-cv-1875 (2018).
  4. Brand v. Cook Medical, Inc., et al., 1:14-cv-6018 (2019); Marilyn Odendahl, "Final Cook Medical bellwether trial ends with verdict for plaintiff", The Indiana Lawyer (February 6, 2019).
  5. Pavlock v. Cook Incorporated, et. al., 4:2017cv03851; "Cook Medical faces $1.2 Million Verdict," PRNewswire (May 29, 2018).

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