Bard IVC Filter Injury Attorneys Seek Leadership Roles in Federal MDL

With an initial status conference scheduled for later this month before the U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Bard IVC filter lawsuits, a number of plaintiffs’ lawyers have applied for various leadership roles in the recently established multidistrict litigation (MDL). 

In August, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established consolidated pretrial proceedings for all product liability lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard over problems with retrievable vena cava filters, which are implanted to reduce the risk of blood clots traveling to the lungs and causing a pulmonary embolism.

All of the claims involve similar allegations that plaintiffs suffered severe injuries when the small, spider like filters moved out of position, punctured the vena cava or fractured, potentially causing small pieces to travel to the heart of lungs.

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Given the similar questions of fact and law raised in the cases, the litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in Arizona to coordinate discovery, avoid conflicting rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

Ahead of an October 29 initial status conference, a number of plaintiffs’ Bard IVC filter attorneys have already filed applications to be appointed to leadership roles, where they would take certain actions during the coordinated pretrial proceedings that benefit all plaintiffs who have filed a complaint.

According to one petition (PDF) filed last week, a meeting among plaintiffs’ counsel was held on October 1, and a consensus was reached that attorney Ramon Rossi Lopez should serve as Lead Counsel and Liaison Counsel.

Lopez has worked on Bard IVC filter litigation for the past four years, when the cases were proceeding without centralized management at the state and federal court level. He also tried cases that went before state court juries and argued the petition to have the MDL established after the parties failed to reach IVC filter settlements to resolve the litigation.

IVC Blood Clot Filter Concerns

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are small medical devices that have been implanted in many patients at risk for a pulmonary embolism in recent years.

The Bard Recovery and G2 filters are two models involved in the lawsuits, which are designed to be retrievable once the risk of a blood clot has passed. However, plaintiffs allege that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the importance of removing the filter, as the risk of problems may increase the longer the device is in place.

In August 2010, the FDA issued a warning about the risk of IVC filter problems, indicating that the agency had received hundreds of adverse event reports where filters broke free and travelled to other areas of the body or caused other injury.

A study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine in March 2013 raised questions about the effectiveness of IVC filters, indicating that less than 10% of filters evaluated in the study were successfully removed from patients and 8% of recipients of IVC filters suffered a pulmonary embolism despite the device’s presence.

In May 2014, the FDA urged doctors to remove IVC filters within about one to two months after the risk of a pulmonary embolism has passed, suggesting that many doctors were not adequately warned about the importance of retrieving the devices.

While there are currently only a few dozen complaints pending in the recently established MDL, as Bard IVC filter attorneys continue to review and file complaints for individuals who have experienced problems, it is ultimately expected that several thousand lawsuits will be centralized before Judge Campbell.

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