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As hundreds of Bard IVC filter lawsuits continue to move forward in the federal court system, the U.S. District Judge presiding over the coordinated pretrial proceedings indicates that the first “bellwether” trial will likely go before a jury in Fall of 2017.
Since August 2015, complaints filed throughout the federal court system over problems with Bard inferior vena cava (IVC) filters have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, where Judge David G. Campbell is presiding over coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings.
There are currently just over 1,000 cases pending before Judge Campbell, each involving similar allegations that individuals suffered severe and sometimes fatal injuries after receiving a Bard G2, Bard Recovery, Bard Denali, Bard Eclipse, Bard Meridian or other inferior vena cava (IVC) filter manufactured by C.R. Bard for prevention of a pulmonary embolism.
The filters contain a series of legs or struts that extend out to “catch” blood clots that may break free in the body, preventing them from traveling to the lungs. However, the claims involve severe and sometimes fatal complications that occurred when the filters moved out of position, migrated to other parts of the body, perforated the vena cava or fractured, causing small pieces to travel to the heart or lungs. Plaintiffs allege the manufacturer sold a defective and unreasonably dangerous device, without providing adequate warnings and instructions for doctors or patients.
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings before Judge Campbell, a small group of “bellwether” cases are being prepared for early trial dates, which is designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.
In a Case Management Order (PDF) issued last week, Judge Campbell indicates that the group of bellwether cases will be narrowed down to a final group of six cases early next year, with trials beginning by the end of next year.
“The Court’s intention will be complete bellwether selection in early May, and set a schedule that will permit all (case specific) discovery, and appropriate motion practice, to be completed in time to hold the first bellwether trials in the Fall of 2017,” wrote Judge Campbell in the order. “Other bellwether trials may also be possible before the end of 2017.”
While the outcomes of these early bellwether trials will not be binding on other cases, they will be closely watched by those involved in the litigation, as they may influence eventual IVC filter settlements in hundreds of cases.
A separate group of bellwether cases involving products manufactured and sold by Cook Medical are also being prepared for a series of bellwether trials, which are scheduled to begin in October 2017.