The lawsuit was filed by Jennifer P., a woman who was living in Virginia when she was injured by the Celect® Inferior Vena Cava Filter (“IVC Filter”) manufactured by Cook Medical Inc.
The Celect IVC filter was surgically implanted in her body on April 29, 2008 at Penrose St. Francis Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado by Dr. William C. Chambers.
The inferior vena cava is responsible for carrying “used” blood from the lower half of the body into the lungs to receive new oxygen.
The problem is that blood clots sometimes develop in the lower legs, especially in hospitalized patients who are recovering from surgery. If a blood clot breaks loose, it can float in the bloodstream until it hits the lungs and gets stuck. This can cause a deadly pulmonary embolism.
IVC filters are implanted in the inferior vena cava to catch blood clots in the bloodstream and prevent pulmonary embolisms. The first IVC filters were permanent implants that were developed in the 1970s.
Permanent IVC filters were rarely used for two reasons. One was the risk of side effects. The other was that permanent IVC filters were only for patients with blood clots who couldn’t take a blood-thinning drug.
That all changed in 2003, when the FDA approved the first retrievable IVC filters for short-term protection against blood clots. They had a hook so a doctor could lasso the filter and pull it out of the vein, which theoretically offered safety advantages over permanent filters.
One problem was a difference in materials. While permanent IVC filters were usually made of strong metals like titanium or stainless steel, temporary filters were usually made of flexible metals like nitinol (nickel-titanium alloys). These materials made temporary IVC filters easier to remove, but increased the risk of fracture and embolization of broken pieces in the bloodstream.
Other complications like filter tilt, migration, perforation of the vena cava, blood clots in the legs, organ damage, heart problems, and even death have been associated with temporary IVC filters.
Cook Medical is charged with strict products liability (failure to warn, design defect), negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, punitive damages, and fraudulent concealment.
The lawsuit was filed on April 18, 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis Division) — Case No.1:17-cv-01223-RLY-TAB.
Cook Medical is facing approximately 1,750 other IVC filter injury lawsuits nationwide. The lawsuits have been coordinated into one federal court in Indiana — Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2570) — In Re: Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation.
The plaintiff is represented by Ben C. Martin and Thomas Wm. Arbon of The Law Offices of Ben C. Martin.
Ben C. Martin is a trial attorney based in Dallas, Texas who serves as the plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel in the Cook IVC Filter MDL.