Georgia Woman Wins $3M Verdict Against Cook Medical

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Cook Group in Bloomington is one of the largest life sciences companies headquartered in the state. Cook Group in Bloomington is one of the largest life sciences companies headquartered in the state.
INDIANAPOLIS -

A federal jury in Indianapolis has awarded $3 million to a Georgia woman who claimed an intravenous filter made by Bloomington-based Cook Medical was defective. Tonya Brand says she suffered medical complications after the filter deteriorated inside her body.

Texas-based law firm Fears Nachawati, which was part of the team representing Brand, says the plaintiff pulled part of her Celect Vena Cava Filter out of her thigh in 2011 after it had broken up and deteriorated. Some pieces of the device, however, are still lodged in her body and cannot be safely removed.

The devices are inserted into the inferior vena cava, a vein that leads to the heart, in an effort to catch blood clots and prevent them from traveling to the heart or lungs. The law firm says the verdict is the first time a jury has found the filters are defective.

"Jurors in this trial considered all of the evidence presented," said Majed Nachawati, co-founder of the Fears Nachawati law firm. "They've sent a message that there's a problem with IVC filters and they've put manufacturers on notice that they will be held accountable."

Cook says it plans to appeal the verdict on multiple grounds.

"The plaintiff’s attorneys in this case asked for tens of millions of dollars as well as punitive damages. We appreciate the jury’s thoughtful approach and rejection of punitive damages as well as unreasonably high demands for compensatory damages," Cynthia Kretz, vice president and general counsel for Cook Medical, said in a statement. "While we respectfully disagree with the compensatory damages and verdict, we appreciate the time and hard work of the jury. We never want to see a patient with a poor outcome and we’re sorry that this patient experienced a very rare complication."

Cook says all medical devices have some level of risk and Brand experienced a rare, but known risk called filler fracture. The medical device manufacturer says the Celect IVC filter has reported a fracture rate of less than 1 percent.

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