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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Bard IVC Filter lawsuits will consider oral arguments next month over whether to certify a class action, which seeks medical monitoring for individuals who received the implant and may face a risk of future complications.
There are currently about 1,300 Bard G2 Filter Lawsuits, Bard Recovery Filter lawsuits and other claims filed against C.R. Bard over problems with retrievable vena cava filters, which are small devices implanted to prevent a blood clot from traveling to the lungs and causing a pulmonary embolism. Plaintiffs allege that design defects make the blood clot filters prone to move out of position, puncture internal organs or fracture, causing small pieces to travel throughout the body.
Since August 2015, the litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona 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.
As part of coordinated MDL proceedings, Judge Campbell has previously established a bellwether trial plan, which calls for a small group of cases to be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout many lawsuits.
However, the manufacturer also faces an IVC filter class action lawsuit brought on behalf of individuals who face a risk of injuries in the future due to the high rate of complications. That lawsuit seeks to make C.R. Bard pay for all future medical monitoring of those devices to ensure that they do not migrate out of position or fracture, or to catch such complications at the earliest stage possible.
According to a joint status report (PDF) released on July 7, ahead of a conference hearing on Thursday, the Court will conduct a hearing on August 11, 2017 to consider certifying the class action status. The parties have asked to discuss how the hearing will be conducted at the July 13 status conference, and seek to know whether the Court expects them to present fact or expert witnesses at the August hearing.
In the same report, the parties also jointly asked the Court to hold a Science Day on August 10, providing each side two hours to make non-adversarial presentations about the scientific issues that will come up in the litigation.
The first bellwether trials over Bard IVC complications are expected to begin later this year. While the outcomes of these early bellwether trials will not be binding on other cases, they will be closely watched by those involved in the litigation, as they may influence eventual IVC filter settlements in hundreds of cases.
In addition to cases against Bard, hundreds of similar Cook IVC filter lawsuits and Cordis IVC filter lawsuits are also pending against the manufacturers of these similar medical devices. A separate group of Cook bellwether cases are also being prepared for a series of bellwether trials, which are scheduled to begin in October 2017.