Motion Filed to Centralize Bard Implanted Port Lawsuits in Federal Court System

At least 10 Bard implanted port lawsuits have been filed in federal courts nationwide, but hundreds of additional claims are expected in the coming weeks and months.

  • Bard implanted ports are commonly used to provide easy access for delivery of medications
  • Lawsuits allege Bard PowerPort and other implanted port catheters contain design defects
  • Plaintiffs have suffered infections, blood clots and other port complications
  • U.S. JPML has been asked to consolidate and centralize all Bard implanted port lawsuits before one judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings

A motion has been filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), seeking to establish consolidated pretrial proceedings for all Bard implanted port lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, and centralize the claims before one judge for discovery and early trials.

There are currently a growing number of lawsuits filed against Bard over design defects with it’s implanted port catheters, including the Bard PowerPort system, which plaintiffs claim is prone to fracture and fail, leading to infections, blood clots and other injuries.

The Bard port catheters are implanted below the skin, to provide access for the easy delivery of medications or other fluids, and are commonly used for patients undergoing chemotherapy or dialysis treatment. The implanted port consists of an injection site where a needle is inserted to deliver medications, as well as a polyurethane catheter tube that carries the drug into the blood vessel.

Unlike other implanted ports, such as Port-a-cath or Mediport, the Bard PowerPort is marketed as a special type of port catheter, which is intended to withstand higher injection pressures. However, nearly a dozen product liability lawsuits have been filed throughout the federal court system by individuals who experienced serious and potentially life-threatening port complications.

Bard Port Catheter Lawsuit

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Serious and life-threatening injuries have been linked to problems with Bard PowerPort. Lawsuits are now being pursued by individuals who suffered injuries from the implantable port catheter fracturing or migrating.

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On May 24, a group of plaintiffs joined together to file a motion to transfer (PDF), calling for all Bard implanted port lawsuits to be consolidated before one U.S. District Judge in the Western District of Missouri, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

According to the motion, there are currently 10 Bard PowerPort lawsuits filed in federal courts nationwide, but lawyers indicate that the number of lawsuits over Bard implanted ports is expected to rise significantly in the coming weeks and months.

“There are – and will continue to be – numerous actions with common questions of fact filed in multiple districts,” plaintiffs argue. “The common questions of fact concerning the development, testing, manufacturer, sale, marketing, and adequacy of warnings for Defendants’ implanted port products— including industry knowledge of the products’ danger—clearly warrant transfer and consolidation of these Actions.”

In complex product liability litigation, where large numbers of claims are brought by users of the same medical device or medication, each experiencing the same or similar injuries, it is common for the U.S. JPML to centralize the litigation to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues that will arise in all claims, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of certain witnesses and parties who will be required to testify in each of the lawsuits.

Bard PowerPort Complications

The lawsuits claim Bard could have changed the design for its implanted ports to make the devices safer for patients, but instead continued to aggressively market the PowerPort with know defects, in order to maximize profits at the expense of potential patient injuries.

The complaints note that soon after the Bard PowerPort was introduced to the market, the manufacturers began receiving adverse event reports, mostly concerning thromboembolism after implantation. These also involved injury reports including:

  • Hemorrhage
  • Infection and sepsis
  • Cardiac/pericardial tamponade
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Severe and persistent pain
  • Perforation of organs, tissues and blood vessels
  • Death

As lawyers continue to review and file claims for individuals who experienced fractures, pulmonary embolism and the need for revision surgery to remove failed implanted ports, it is ultimately expected that several hundred claims will be brought throughout the federal court system. If an MDL is established, each individual claim may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial, if the parties fail to negotiate Bard port catheter settlements or another resolution for the claims.

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