A woman who filed a lawsuit against Cook Medical regarding the device maker’s Celect Vena Cava Filter (IVC filter) has been awarded $3 million after a jury agreed with her that Cook’s inferior vena cava filter was defectively designed. The lawsuit was the third bellwether trial against Cook to go to court, with Cook winning the two previous suits.
At Patterson Dahlberg, we’ve seen too frequently how catastrophic the injuries caused by medical devices can be. We fight for patients whose lives have been affected by defectively designed implants, and who are put under extreme stress and trauma in situations where those implants cannot be removed, potentially causing further injury. We are committed to holding medical device makers like Cook accountable for the devices they manufacture and market, and for not warning patients about the risks associated with using those devices.
Plaintiff Pulled Portion of IVC Filter Out of Her Skin
In 2009, Tonya Brand received a Cook Celect Vena Cava Filter before she had spinal-fusion surgery. In 2011, Brand developed pain in her right thigh and shortly thereafter noticed something sticking out through her skin. That small protrusion grew to a five-inch area and ultimately a piece of metal wire came out of her leg.
A medical exam revealed that Brand experienced an IVC filter fracture with one broken strut that had moved to her leg and another strut migrating to an area near her spine. In 2015, Brand had surgery to remove the filter, but after several unsuccessful retrieval attempts, doctors gave up on removing the device because part of the filter was embedded in Brand’s caval wall.
On Oct. 22, 2015, Brand underwent open surgery to retrieve the filter. By that point, three struts had penetrated the wall of her vena cava and at least one strut had perforated her aorta. Although doctors removed the filter, the fractured pieces could not be removed and were left implanted.
Jury Awards $3 Million
Brand filed an IVC filter lawsuit against Cook Medical, alleging the company sold a defective medical device and failed to warn patients about the risk of severe IVC filter side effects, including the potential for device fracture and migration. Brand’s defective device lawsuit included claims for breach of warranty, loss of consortium and punitive damages. The surgeon who implanted the filter, however, said even with the warnings he would not have changed Brand’s treatment.
As a result, Judge Richard Young dismissed some of Brand’s claims, leaving the strict liability, negligent design defect and negligence per se claims to move forward. In awarding Brand $3 million, the jury found that the Celect IVC filter was defectively designed, which caused Brand’s injury.
Two previous bellwether trials resulted in decisions for Cook Medical. In one case the jury found in favor of the device maker and in the other a judge issued a summary judgment. Cook has said it plans to appeal Brand’s award.
More than 5,000 Lawsuits Sit in MDL
The three bellwether trials were the first of a handful of suits that will go to court to help both sides determine how the courts will rule in IVC filter claims. As of Jan. 15, 2019, there were 5,154 lawsuits consolidated in multidistrict litigation 2570 against Cook Medical.
Cook Medical isn’t the only device maker to face allegations of IVC filter injuries. Bard faces 5,770 lawsuits consolidated for pretrial proceedings in MDL 2641. Both companies face allegations that they defectively designed their IVC filters, putting patients at risk of device fracture and migration, potentially causing serious injury.
IVC Filter Attorney
At Patterson Dahlberg, we specialize in personal injury claims. Our attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, many of whom have suffered catastrophic harm at the hands of medical device manufacturers. We have a proven record of successfully fighting for our clients, and refusing to back down against large companies with deep pockets.
Our personal injury lawyers are experts in their field and will ensure you understand all your rights and your options. If you have been harmed by a defective IVC filter, you deserve highly skilled, uniquely knowledgeable representation from a dedicated attorney who will maximize your claim and provide unsurpassed legal counsel.