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As part of a series of early trial dates scheduled for Bard vena cava filter lawsuits, which have been brought on behalf of more than 3,500 individuals throughout the federal court system, a jury has returned a defense verdict following a 12-day trial.
The case was the fourth bellwether trial involving the small devices manufactured by C.R. Bard, which have been linked to reports of severe and life-threatening complications after moving out of position, puncturing internal organs or fracturing, resulting in small pieces of the filter traveling throughout the body.
Given similar questions of fact and law presented in complaints filed by individuals nationwide, the federal claims are all centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
To help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the claims, Judge Campbell has established a “bellwether” program.
Earlier this year, the first Bard IVC bellwether case ended in a $3.6 million award, after a federal jury found that the manufacturer recklessly disregarded the safety of consumers who received their filters. However, a second case ended in a defense verdict for Bard in June 2018, and a third bellwether case was dismissed due to statute of limitation issues.
On October 5, a federal jury returned a defense verdict in the fourth case, which was the third to go to trial against C.R. Bard, involving claims brought by Lisa Hyde and her husband. At trial, the parties disputed the exact model of Bard filter that was implanted in the plaintiff. Following the close of evidence and deliberations, the jury reportedly determined that plaintiffs failed to meet the necessary burden of proof in the case.
While the outcome of this bellwether trial and others are not binding on other plaintiffs, each of the trials are being closely watched by the parties and may influence eventual negotiations to reach IVC filter settlements, which would avoid the need for thousands of separate trials to be held nationwide.
In a case management order (PDF) issued on October 5, Judge Campbell confirmed that the MDL court will hold at least two more bellwether trials. One of the trials will involve a claim brought by Debra Mulkey, who was originally scheduled to go to trial in September. However, her case was delayed due to health issues. That trial will now be held in February 2019, according to the court order. Another case will follow in May.
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. Last month, a Texas jury awarded $1.2 million in damages to a firefighter who suffered injuries from a Cook Celect filter.