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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all product liability lawsuits involving problems with Bard inferior vena cava (IVC) filters has extended the deadlines for plaintiffs to produce reports from experts involving two specific devices involved in the litigation: the Bard Meridian and Denali filters.
There are currently more than 1,400 Bard IVC filter lawsuits pending in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), each involving similar allegations that the small devices implanted to prevent blood clots from causing a pulmonary embolism are prone to fail, potentially tilting out of position, puncturing the vena cava or fracturing, causing small pieces to travel to the heart and lungs.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the lawsuits, cases filed throughout the federal court system are centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona, for coordinated pretrial proceedings that are designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting rulings from different Courts and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.
While most of the cases involve problems with Bard G2 filters or Bard Recovery filters, complaints have also been filed by individuals who experienced complications after a Bard Meridian or Bard Denali filter was implanted in their inferior vena cava.
In a case management order (PDF) issued late last week, Judge Campbell granted a request made by plaintiffs to allow additional time to produce reports from their experts involving the Meridian and Denali filters, extending the prior deadline of March 3 to April 7, 2017. Attorneys for the manufacturer will then be required to file any responsive expert reports by May 12, with any rebuttal reports from Plaintiffs due by June 9, 2017. The experts will then be deposed between June 9 and July 14, 2017.
The order also directs defendants to file any motion for summary judgment based on the argument that the plaintiffs’ lawsuits are pre-empted by March 17, 2017.
Judge Campbell has previously established a bellwether process, which involves a small group of cases that are being prepared to go before juries by the end of this year. While the outcomes of these early trial dates will not be binding on other claims in the litigation, they are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation, and may help the parties negotiate IVC filter settlements that would avoid the need for hundreds of individual trials to be set in courts nationwide.
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 expected to begin in October 2017.