The judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation for the Cook IVC (“inferior vena cava”) filter has issued an order scheduling the first three bellwether trials in 2017 and has also scheduled settlement conferences prior to the trials in hopes of reaching a settlement between the manufacturer and plaintiffs.

Several hundred Cook IVC filter lawsuits have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Plaintiffs contend that the Cook Medical filters are prone to breaking in the vein after implantation and are responsible for a number of internal injuries.

IVC filters are implanted in the inferior vena cava -- the vein that carries blood to the heart and lungs -- to prevent blood clots from traveling from the legs to the heart or lungs. The devices are then removed 1-2 months after they are implanted.

However, studies have shown that the devices can be difficult to remove without breaking inside the vein. The fragments can puncture the vena cava as well as other organs and can also travel to the heart. Plaintiffs also claim that research has shown the IVC filters to be ineffective at preventing blood clots from traveling to other organs. They also claim that the Cook IVC filter has an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis.

Several other IVC filter manufacturers are also named defendants in the multidistrict litigation, including C.R. Bard and Gunther Tulip. An NBC News investigation in 2015 claimed that the company knew about the risks prior to introducing its IVC filters to the market.

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