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A federal jury has determined C.R. Bard should pay $2.5 million in damages to a woman who experienced complications with a retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filter, which fractured and broke inside her body after it was implanted to prevent a pulmonary embolism.
The case involves an IVC filter lawsuit filed by Schaneiqua Marie Wright against C.R. Bard and Bard Peripheral Vascular Inc., alleging she suffered injuries due to design defects with a Bard Recovery IVC filter implanted in July 2005.
On May 28, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ordered the manufacturers to pay Wright $2,197,892 in damages, including past and future pain and mental suffering, as well as another $351,268 for future medical costs.
After the IVC filter was implanted to reduce the risk of a blood clot breaking free inside her body traveling to her lungs, it remained in place for more than 12 years. In January 2018, Wright developed blood clots in her lungs, and her doctors determined the IVC filter had fractured, sending debris into her heart and lungs.
While the jury determined the Recovery IVC filter was defectively designed, it ruled in favor of Bard on the issues of failure to warn and negligent design.
Wright’s lawsuit is one of thousands filed against the medical device manufacturer over the IVC filters.
At the litigation’s peak, C.R. Bard faced more than 8,000 product liability lawsuits over retrievable IVC filters fracturing or breaking, each involving similar allegations that plaintiffs suffered painful and potentially complications when the small devices moved out of position, punctured internal organs or fractured, causing small pieces to travel throughout the body.
Given common questions of fact and law involved in the litigation, claims filed throughout the federal court system was centralized in the District of Arizona since 2015, where U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell has presided over coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
Following a series of early “bellwether” trials before Judge Campbell, which were designed to help parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims, including one trial which resulted in a $3.6 million verdict and two other claims that resulted in defense verdicts, individual IVC filter settlements were reached to resolve the vast majority of the claims.
In 2019, Judge Campbell identified hundreds of unsettled Bard IVC filter lawsuits that were ready to be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where they would have originally been filed, since the coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) had been completed. Wright’s case is one of a number of unresolved claims that are expected to go to trial over the next year.
In addition to claims against Bard, several thousand similar IVC filter lawsuits are pending against Cook Medical, who sold a similar retrievable design that has been linked to reports of fractures and injuries.