Bard IVC Filter Lawyers to Meet with MDL Judge for Initial Status Conference

Lawyers involved in the federal Bard IVC filter lawsuits are scheduled to meet later next month with the U.S. District Judge recently assigned to preside over the consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL), for an initial status conference.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued a transfer order on August 17, directing that all Bard Recovery filter lawsuits and Bard G2 filter lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system be consolidated for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in Arizona.

According to an order (PDF) issued September 15, lawyers representing plaintiffs and the medical device manufacturer will meet for the first time with Judge Campbell on October 29, to discuss the status of the cases that have been pending throughout the country, some of which may already be close to trial.

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At the time the Bard MDL was established, there were about two dozen cases pending in various different U.S. District Courts nationwide. However, as IVC filter lawyers continue to review and file additional claims in the coming months and years, it is ultimately expected that several hundred cases will be brought nationwide.

Each of the claims raise similar allegations, indicating that design defects associated with certain retrievable filters caused individuals to suffer severe complications from the IVC blood clot filters, where the small devices moved out of position, fractured or broke inside the vena cava, often causing small pieces to travel to the heart or lungs.

Judge Campbell has asked attorneys from both sides to submit proposed agendas for the initial conference by October 9. One of several questions the judge wants answered is what to do about a number of cases that are already several years old. He notes that some of them are ready for trial, and asks the attorneys to give their ideas on how the MDL should be handled given the varying age of the cases.

He is also asking whether there are similar cases filed at the state level and if there has been any attempt at coordination of state cases.

IVC Blood Clot Filter Concerns

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are small medical devices shaped like a spider, which are designed to “catch” blood clots and prevent them from traveling to the lungs, where they may cause a pulmonary embolism.

The Bard Recovery and G2 filters were designed to be retrievable, but many plaintiffs allege that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the importance of removing the filter once the risk of a blood clot has passed, 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.

As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings in the Bard IVC litigation, it is expected that a small group of cases will be prepared for early trial dates. Known as “bellwether” cases, the outcomes are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the litigation, potentially promote IVC filter settlements to resolve cases brought by individuals who have experienced problems.


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