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Parties involved in the federal Bard IVC filter litigation have identified nearly 500 claims that are ready to be reinstated, remanded or transferred back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for trial, after recent settlements reached by the manufacturer left the cases unresolved.
At the litigation’s peak, C.R. Bard faced more than 8,000 product liability lawsuits over problems with retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, each involving similar allegations 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, 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 were reached to resolve the vast majority of the claims.
In 2019, Judge Campbell identified hundreds of unsettled Bard IVC filter lawsuits that were ready to be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where they would have originally been filed, since the coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) had been completed.
Over the past year, parties have continued to work to finalize settlement agreements reached between the manufacturer and individual law firms involved in the litigation.
In a joint report (PDF) submitted on December 30, the parties provided the Court with a list of cases ripe to be reinstated after plaintiffs “opted out” of a settlement agreement, as well as cases ripe for remand or transfer after plaintiffs did not sign a release to finalize the settlement of their case.
According to the filing, about 150 previously dismissed cases should be reinstated, with at least another 330 claims that are ready to be returned back to the original federal district court where they originated for individual trial dates. In addition, at least three cases were identified for remand back to state courts.
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 2019, 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.