The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has vacated a $3 million judgment against Bloomington-based Cook Medical. The company had been sued by a Georgia woman who claimed an intravenous filter made by Cook deteriorated inside her body, causing medical complications.
In the lawsuit, Tonya Brand said she pulled part of her inferior vena cava (IVC) filter out of her thigh in 2011 after it had broken up and deteriorated. She says some pieces of the device are still lodged in her body and cannot be removed.
In February 2019, a jury awarded Brand $3 million, however the court has now vacated the judgment and ordered a new trial. In its decision, the court said the “Plaintiff did not have overwhelming evidence to show the filter was defective or that a defect in the filter caused her injuries” and that “a jury could have just as easily found in Cook’s favor.”
At the time of the initial jury verdict, Cook said Brand experienced a rare risk known as filter fracture and the specific filter that affected Brand, known as the Celect IVC filter, has reported a fracture rate of less than 1%.
“Cook filters have saved thousands of lives and are critical to patient well-being,” Mark Breedlove, vice president of Cook Medical’s Vascular division, said in a news release. “We are committed to continuing the fight for physician and patient access to this life-saving technology.”
Dallas-based Fears Nachawati Law Firm, one of the firms involved in the lawsuit, released a statement in response to the court’s decision.
“Our fight continues. Jurors in this case heard strong evidence and compelling testimony from medical experts and agreed that the Cook IVC filter is unnecessarily dangerous,” said Majed Nachawati, co-founder of Fears Nachawati. “We will continue to move forward with these important claims until Cook takes responsibility and provides adequate warning about this flawed and dangerous product.”
Cook says the court has dismissed more than 1,000 cases filed against the company in the multi-district litigation and no court has concluded that the filters have been defectively designed.