For more information or confidential assistance
se habla español

Early 2017 Trial Dates for Bard IVC Filter Lawsuits

lawyer and jurorsTo date, plaintiffs have filed about 100 Bard IVC filter lawsuits in federal court, although that number is expected to climb.

The parties have recently proposed a discovery schedule for the cases, which may allow the first federal bellwether trials to be scheduled as early as 2017. The parties have proposed two separate discovery tracks for the cases.

Proposed discovery proposals

The first track cases are those that were the first to be filed against C.R. Bard. These parties have proposed to complete discovery by July 1, 2016. The proposal calls for a November 4, 2016 deadline for the completion of expert discovery and the exchange of supplemental expert reports. Then, the parties will have some time for pretrial motions and challenges to expert testimony before the trial dates in 2017.

The second track cases, which are the newer ones to be filed, will also include any future product liability lawsuits that may be added to the IVC filter litigation. The parties suggested that the needs of these second track cases differ in scope from the first track cases, and so a separate schedule may be suitable. General discovery is expected to be completed by October 28, 2016, with the completion of expert discovery not expected until May 19, 2017.

In other updates regarding the Bard IVC filter multidistrict litigation (MDL), the parties have indicated they have participated in preliminary discussions for the selection process for the bellwether cases. The parties expect to submit a proposal for this process by March 1, 2016.

Formation of the Bard IVC filter MDL

All of these federal cases are proceeding in a multidistrict litigation, which is a type of mass action against common defendants. The lawsuits joined to the MDL list similar allegations and statements of fact. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) may establish an MDL when it feels that doing so would streamline the litigation process for multiple lawsuits across various federal districts. By consolidating the lawsuits into an MDL and placing them under the supervision of one judge, there is a reduced possibility of duplicative discovery and contradictory rulings across districts. However, the outcome of one case in the MDL is not binding upon any of the others.

The cases share general discovery and pre-trial proceedings, and then go through case-specific discovery. Once the initial trials, or bellwether trials, have concluded, the remaining cases may either be settled or remanded back to their home districts for individual trials.

Common allegations against C.R. Bard

The IVC filters in question are implantable medical devices that are placed within a major artery. They are designed to capture blood clots moving from the lower body to the heart. If blood clots lodge in a coronary artery, they can cause a heart attack. The IVC filters are intended to prevent heart attacks among patients at a high risk of suffering them.

However, the plaintiffs who have filed product liability lawsuits against C.R. Bard allege that the devices themselves can result in serious harm and may leave patients with life-threatening complications.

Common allegations include the spontaneous migration of the filters, the perforation of the blood vessel, and the fracturing of the devices, the latter of which can propel shards of metal into the lungs and heart.

The plaintiffs claim that the filters are defective in design and unreasonably dangerous.