New Bard Power Port Lawsuits Can Now Be Directly Filed in Federal MDL

Judge has approved a new streamlined process for plaintiffs to file Bard Power Port lawsuits directly in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, where the federal litigation is centralized.

With a growing number of Bard Power Port lawsuits being filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, each involving similar allegations that the implantable port catheters fractured or caused devastating infections, the judge recently appointed to preside over all discovery and pretrial proceedings in the claims has authorized the direct filing of new complaints in Arizona federal court.

Each of the complaints raise similar allegations, indicating that Becton, Dickinson & Co., and its Bard subsidiaries sold unreasonably dangerous and defective port catheter systems, which are placed below the skin to provide easy access for the delivery of medications, such as chemotherapy.

The Bard PowerPorts consist of an injection site where a needle is inserted, as well as a polyurethane catheter tube that carries the drug into the blood vessel. Plaintiffs maintain that they have each suffered different injuries due to the same design problems with the port-a-cath, indicating that the material is prone to degrade over time, allowing bacteria to develop or small pieces top break off.

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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Given common questions of fact and law raised in the claims, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided in September to centralize the lawsuits before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Since then, new Bard Power Port lawsuits filed in various different U.S. District Courts have been transferred to Judge Campbell, causing delay and unnecessarily utilizing judicial resources.

Direct Filing of Bard PowerPort Lawsuits

On November 22, Judge Campbell issued a case management order (PDF) that allows new PowerPort lawsuits to be directly filed in the MDL court, instead of bringing the complaints in various different U.S. District Courts nationwide and waiting for the cases to be transferred to Arizona.

Earlier this month, plaintiffs filed a Master Complaint, which outlined all of the allegations presented in the litigation. As a result, plaintiffs are now able to initiate new cases using an abbreviated Short-Form Complaint, which adopts certain allegations that are specific to their claim, indicating the type of Bard Power Port used and the injury that is alleged to have occurred as a result.

Plaintiffs are already making use of the direct filing system, with a Bard Power Port Short Form Complaint (PDF) filed on December 7 by Shannon Straughter of California, who indicates her PowerPort ClearVUE caused her to suffer an infection, which led to severe sepsis.

As the size and scope of the litigation continues to grow, it is expected that Judge Campbell establish a bellwether process, where a small group of representative claims will be prepared for early trial dates to test allegations that design defects caused the Bard port catheters to fracture and fail, resulting in severe infections, blood clots and other life-threatening injuries.

This direct filing method will allow the parties to gather standardized information about each claim, and select a representative group of claims for any future bellwether process and early trial dates.

The next case management conference is scheduled for January 8, 2024.

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