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Following several years of coordinated pretrial proceedings involving more than 7,000 Bard IVC filter lawsuits, the U.S. District Judge presiding over the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) indicates that new cases can no longer be directly filed in his court, as he prepares to remand large numbers of claims back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates if settlements are not reached.
Since 2015, all product liability lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard over problems with retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filters have been centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
Each of the complaints raise similar questions of fact and law, alleging that plaintiffs suffered painful and potentially life-threatening IVC filter complications, where the small devices moved out of position, punctured internal organs or fractured, causing small pieces to travel throughout the body.
Following a series of early “bellwether” trials 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, Judge Campbell has previously indicated that the work in the MDL is nearing completion, and ultimately each case will need to be returned to the Court where it originally would have been filed for a separate trial date.
In a case management order (PDF) issued on May 31, Judge Campbell declaring the “MDL is now closed,” indicating that future cases can no longer be filed directly in the District of Arizona. Any new cases filed in the MDL using the previously approved short-form complaint will be rejected by the court, and the filing fee will be refunded.
As a result, each additional IVC filter lawsuit against Bard must be filed in the appropriate U.S. District Court, and proceed with an individual trial schedule. However, the parties will have access to the consolidated discovery and rulings that were made in the MDL.
While Bard has negotiated individual IVC filter settlements in certain cases, a global agreement has not been reached to resolve the entire litigation.
Earlier last month, Judge Campbell ordered the parties to make a joint filing by July 1, which identifies all cases that fall within two settlement tracks, and which U.S. District Court the claim should be transferred back to following the conclusion of the MDL proceedings.
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.