As hundreds of IVC filter lawsuits move forward against C.R. Bard in the federal court system, with fact discovery set to close in October, a growing number of cases continue to be filed by individuals who experienced severe problems with the filters.
In a recent article Austin Kirk writes that there are currently more than 800 product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system on behalf of individuals who experienced complications after receiving a Bard G2, Bard Recovery, Bard Denali, Bard Eclipse, Bard Meridian or other inferior vena cava (IVC) filter for prevention of a pulmonary embolism.
The filters contain a series of legs or struts that extend out to “catch” blood clots that may break free in the body, preventing them from traveling to the lungs. However, severe and potentially life threatening complications from Bard IVC filters have been reported, where the struts perforated the vena cava, migrated to other areas of the body or fractured, causing small pieces to travel to the heart or lungs.
Given the similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, coordinated pretrial proceedings were established last year, centralizing all Bard IVC filter lawsuits before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona as part of a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
According to a status report (PDF) filed last week by parties involved in the MDL proceedings, discovery and depositions continue in the cases, with fact discovery expected to be completed by October 28. In addition, at least 10 mature cases are expected to be in a position for early remand for trial, however, plaintiffs’ attorneys indicate that they will likely wait on those cases to have access to expert testimony that is likely to develop as the newer cases progress.
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings, a group of 48 claims have been selected as potential “bellwether” trials, which will later be narrowed down to just 10 cases selected by each side in early December, for a total of 20 lawsuits that will be part of a first bellwether discovery group. By March 2017, that list will again be narrowed down to six IVC filter lawsuits against Bard, after which trial dates will be set.
While the cases continue to move forward, IVC filter injury lawyers continue to review and file additional claims for individuals who have experienced problems, or continue to have the Bard devices implanted in their body, posing a risk of complications in the future.
It is ultimately expected that several thousand IVC filter cases will be filed against C.R. Bard before the first lawsuits go to trial. In addition, similar Cook IVC filter lawsuits and Cordis IVC filter lawsuits are being pursued on behalf of individuals who received similar devices manufactured by other companies.
While the outcomes of these early bellwether trials in the Bard MDL will not binding on other lawsuits, they will be closely watched by parties involved, as they may influence negotiations to reach IVC filter settlements that would be needed for the manufacturers to avoid hundreds of individual trials in courts throughout the U.S.