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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Bard IVC filter lawsuits has determined that hundreds of cases are now ready to be returned back to different federal district courts nationwide for individual trial dates, after the vast majority of other claims have settled or are close to settlement.
At the peak, C.R. Bard faced more than 8,000 product liability lawsuits over problems with retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, each involving claims that plaintiffs suffered painful and potentially complications when the small devices moved out of position, punctured internal organs or fractured, causing small pieces to travel throughout the body.
Given common questions of fact and law involved in the litigation, all claims filed throughout the federal court system have been centralized in the District of Arizona since 2015, where U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell has presided over coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
Following a series of early “bellwether” trials before Judge Campbell, which were designed to help parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims, including one trial that resulted in a $3.6 million verdict and two other claims that resulted in defense verdicts, individual IVC filter settlements have been reached in the vast majority of the claims.
However, in a Suggestion of Remand and Court Order (PDF) issued on August 20, Judge Campbell identified about 600 lawsuits that remain unresolved, indicating that those cases are now ready for remand to various different U.S. District Courts, since the work in the MDL is now complete.
“The MDL was transferred to this Court in August 2015 when 22 cases had been filed. More than 8,000 cases had been filed when the MDL closed to new cases on May 31, 2019,” he wrote. “Thousands of cases pending in the MDL have settled in principle or are near settlement. The remaining cases no longer benefit from centralized proceedings and are subject to remand or transfer.”
In May, Judge Campbell ordered the parties to identify all cases that fall within two settlement tracks in July. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will now consider the request to remand unresolved claims, and it is expected that the cases will be reassigned to various individual judges to set trial schedules if agreements are not reached by the parties to settle the cases.
In addition to the cases filed against Bard, nearly 4,000 Cook IVC filter lawsuits are pending in a separate MDL, raising nearly identical allegations that devices sold by this competing manufacturer carry similar design defects. In February, an Indiana jury found that Cook Medical should be required to pay $3 million in compensatory damages, and a steady stream of additional cases are expected to go before juries if settlements are not reached in those claims.