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A federal jury in Arizona has returned a defense verdict in the second federal bellwether trial in the Bard IVC filter litigation, finding that a plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence to establish that the manufacturer sold a defective device or failed to warn about the risk of complications associated with the blood clot filter.
The case was one of more than 3,500 Bard IVC Filter lawsuits pending in the federal court system, each raising similar allegations that retrievable devices sold by Bard fractured or migrated out of position, causing a variety of serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, the cases have 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.
On June 1, a federal jury returned a verdict (PDF) in favor of Bard in a case filed by Doris Jones, who was implanted with a Bard Eclipse IVC filter in August 2010, and claimed that the filter fractured and caused her to suffer a pulmonary embolism in April 2015. Following about 12 days of trial, the jury found that insufficient evidence was presented on product liability claims for design defect, strict liability failure to warn and negligent failure to warn.
The case was the second in a series of early “bellwether” trials, which were scheduled to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the claims.
The first trial resulted in a verdict of $3.6 million, including $2 million in punitive damages designed to punish Bard recklessly disregarding the safety of consumers who received their IVC filters. That case involved a lawsuit filed by Sherr-Una Booker, who experienced problems with a Bard G2 Vena Cava filter.
A third Bard IVC bellwether trial is set to begin on September 18, involving a lawsuit filed by Debra Mulkey.
In addition to cases against Bard, another 3,750 Cook IVC filter lawsuits are centralized as part of a separate MDL, involving similar allegations of design defects associated with that competing product. Last month, a Texas jury awarded $1.2 million in damages to a firefighter who suffered injuries from a Cook Celect filter.
While the outcome of these bellwether trials are not be binding of remaining claims in the litigation, they are being closely watched by parties involved, and may influence eventual negotiations to reach IVC filter settlements, which would avoid the need for thousands of separate trials to be held nationwide.