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A settlement has reportedly been reached to resolve a Bard IVC filter lawsuit that was set for trial to begin this week in the federal court system, as the federal judge presiding over the litigation indicates that large numbers of individual cases may soon be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates.
C.R. Bard currently faces more than 7,000 product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, with each involving allegations plaintiffs suffered IVC filter complications after the retrievable blood clot filters moved out of position, punctured internal organs or fractured, causing small pieces to travel throughout the body.
Given similar questions of fact and law presented in the cases, the litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona since 2015, as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).
To help the parties better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their positions, Judge Campbell has scheduled a series of early “bellwether” trials, which have resulted in mixed results so far, with one claim resulting in a $3.6 million verdict, and two other claims resulting in defense verdicts.
This week, jury selection was set to begin in a claim filed by Debra Tinlin, whose Bard Recovery IVC filter fractured inside her body, causing small pieces to travel to her heart. Following surgical removal of the IVC filter, scans have revealed that struts perforated her vena cava wall, and Tinlin still has pieces in her pulmonary arteries, which can not be removed and pose a continuing threat to her life.
According to minutes (PDF) from a telephone conference on Friday, the parties informed Judge Campbell that a settlement has been reached in the case, and the trial date was vacated. However, no details about the IVC filter settlement agreement have been disclosed.
The settlement comes as Judge Campbell has been increasing pressure on Bard and plaintiffs to resolve cases, or large numbers of individual claims may be set for trial nationwide.
In a case management order (PDF) issued earlier this month, Judge Campbell signaled that the consolidated pretrial proceedings in the litigation is largely complete, indicating that new cases will no longer be transferred into the MDL or filed directly in his court after May 31.
The parties have been ordered to submit a joint memorandum by July 1, 2019, identifying each case that is not currently part of a settlement, 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.