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Following a $3.6 million verdict in the first IVC filter bellwether case to go before a jury last month, C.R. Bard is set to face another trial next month, involving a complaint that alleges a Bard Eclipse Vana Cava Filter fractured and caused a woman to suffer a pulmonary embolism.
The cases are part of a series of early trial dates, which are designed to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout several thousand IVC filter lawsuits pending against Bard throughout the federal court system, each raising similar allegations that the small blood clot filters are prone to move out of position, puncture internal organs or fracture, causing small pieces to travel throughout the body.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, the Bard IVC filter litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona since August 2015, for coordinated pretrial proceedings, to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting rulings from different Courts and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.
A lawsuit filed by Sherr-Una Booker was the first in a series of early test trial dates, involving problems with a Bard G2 Vena Cava filter. Following a multi-week trial that began in March 2018, a federal jury awarded $2 million in compensatory damages, with 80% of the award assessed against C.R. Bard. The company was then ordered to pay another $2 million in punitive damages, which were design to punish Bard’s reckless disregard for the safety of consumers, resulting in a total verdict of $3.6 million.
In an order (PDF) issued by Judge Campbell near the conclusion of that case, a trial date was set for May 15 for a second bellwether trial, involving a lawsuit filed by Doris Jones, of Georgia. A final pretrial conference has been set for May 4 before the trial begins.
Jones filed her complaint (PDF) in March 2016, indicating a Bard Eclipse IVC Filter was implanted in her body in August 2010, which ultimately fractured in April 2015, and embolized in her pulmonary artery.
Last month, Judge Campbell denied Bard’s motion for summary judgment in part. While the Court dismissed plaintiffs claims for consumer fraud, unfair trade practices, misrepresentation and negligence per se, the lawsuit will proceed to trial on claims for failure to warn and punitive damages.
While the outcomes of the Jones bellwether trial will not be binding on other cases, it will be closely watched by those involved in the litigation, as it will help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout other cases. Also, the process may help facilitate the negotiation of IVC filter settlements, which may avoid the need for hundreds of individual trial dates in courts nationwide.