Reports of Bard IVC Filter Complications to be Provided in MDL

With discovery continuing to move forward in the federal Bard IVC filter lawsuits, the manufacturer is set to produce documents relating to adverse event reports and complaint files involving their blood clot filters.

Since August, all product liability lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard in the federal court system involving IVC filter complications have been centralized before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

Each of the complaints involve similar allegations that retrievable filters sold by Bard, which are implanted into the inferior vena cava to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs, are unreasonably dangerous and defective.

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Plaintiffs claim that the IVC filters have perforated the vein, migrated out of position, fractured or otherwise failed, causing individuals to suffer severe and often life-threatening injuries.

Cases filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide are currently centralized in the MDL for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings, to minimize the risk of duplicate efforts, to avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

In a case management order (pdf) issued on January 5, Judge Campbell indicates that in the near future Bard will produce additional and updated adverse event reports and complaint files maintained pursuant to federal regulation. These reports will include information about IVC filter complications experienced by individuals who receive any Bard product.

To the extent that any reports include identifying information relating to a particular named Plaintiff with a case in the MDL, a Plaintiff with litigation pending in a state court, or a voluntary reporter who is an attorney associated with any of the law firms involved in the MDL, Judge Campbell’s order notes that the parties have agreed that Bard shall not remove or redact those details.

In August 2010, the FDA first warned about the risk of problems with IVC filters, indicating that by that time the agency had received more than 900 adverse event reports, including instances where the filter broke free and migrated through the body, where components or pieces broke off, where the inferior vena cava was perforated or where the filter fractured.

Since that time, it is likely that many more adverse event reports have been submitted by doctors, individuals who experienced injuries or attorneys representing those who suffered catastrophic injuries or died after receiving an IVC filter.

In addition to the cases against C.R. Bard, similar claims have been raised in lawsuits over Cook IVC filters that feature a similar, retrievable design. Those cases are consolidated as part of a separate MDL, which is centralized before U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young in the Southern District of Indiana.

Following coordinated pretrial proceedings and discovery in each of the MDLs, it is expected that small groups of cases will be scheduled for early trial dates to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout a number of claims.

While the outcomes of these “bellwether” trials will not be binding on other plaintiffs, they may influence eventual negotiations with the manufacturers to reach IVC filter injury settlements to resolve the litigation.


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