Last week, Freese & Goss and Matthews & Associates successfully represented the plaintiff in a medical device/malpractice case against Cook Medical. The jury found that plaintiff Jeff Pavlock’s Cook Celect IVC filter implant in 2015 caused severe injuries, and after a three-week trial, ordered Cook Medical to pay $1.2 million in compensation.

Pavlock is a 35-year-old Houston-area firefighter and needed an open laparotomy surgery to remove the filter. Cook promoted its Celect IVC filter as retrievable, but the filter put into Mr. Pavlock’s inferior vena cava tilted, perforated his IVC, duodenum and aorta, and was pressing against his spine and renal artery, making it impossible to remove without major surgery. Two previous removal procedures had failed.

Matthews & Associates named partner David Matthews argued for the plaintiff in closing that Cook knew its Celect had perforation problems before it was cleared by the FDA, yet pushed it to the market anyway.  He showed the jury several independent studies that found Celect had a perforation rate of greater than 79 percent, while the Cook-sponsored study the company presented to the FDA prior to Celect’s 510(k) clearance in 2008 showed a zero percent perforation rate.  Mr. Matthews also reminded the jury that he had shown evidence that as few as one percent of adverse events are reported by doctors to a medical device maker.

“Spinal stenosis,” according to the Mayo Clinic, “is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine.  Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck. Some people with spinal stenosis may not have symptoms.”

One plaintiff’s expert in the case testified that Mr. Pavlock had a 90% chance of suffering future spinal stenosis from the surgery which involved cutting the metal filter into several pieces and digging them out.

Cook announced that it will appeal the jury verdict.