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Bard IVC Filter Lawsuits Centralized in Federal Court

Inferior vena cava filterPursuant to an August 17 transfer order issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), all federal IVC filter lawsuits initiated against medial device maker C.R. Bard will be consolidated before U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell in the District of Arizona. The panel’s decision was made following a determination that the similarity of fact patterns and legal questions presented in existing cases warranted a coordination of pretrial processes and that the interests of fairness and judicial economy would best be served in this way.

IVC filter litigation grows

A significant number of lawsuits related to Bard’s Recovery and G2 inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are currently pending in federal courts across the country, and it is anticipated that the volume of litigation pertaining to these devices will substantially grow in the months and years to come. Plaintiffs in these cases have made similar argument and allegations concerning the serious complications they experienced as a result of having these clot-filtering devices implanted.

Though they are designed to stop blood clots from breaking loose and making their way to the lungs, some patients have reportedly suffered dangerous instances of device migration, vein punctures and device disintegration.

It should be noted that Bard is not the only IVC filter manufacturer to be the subject of large-scale litigation, as lawsuits pertaining to Cook Medical’s Celect filters have already been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) before Judge Richard Young in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Centralization of these cases comes on the heels of alarming research studies which revealed that Cook’s Celect filters had a perforation rate of 43% and that physicians regularly allowed the devices to remain inside patients far long after the dangers they were designed to prevent had passed.

In May of 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration alerted doctors to the need to remove the filters no more than two months after a patient’s risk of pulmonary embolism had waned, leading many to assert that the device makers did not sufficiently warn of the risks presented by devices remaining in the body for extended periods of time.

Bard opposition to IVC filter lawsuit consolidation

C.R. Bard representatives voiced strenuous opposition to the creation of an MDL for lawsuits related to its IVC filters, asserting that many such cases have already reached advanced stages, with some having already been concluded by way of settlement agreement. The JPML held otherwise, finding that while it is true that some pending matters have already finished with pretrial fact-finding and are close to trial, the overlapping discovery issues remaining in such a high volume of additional cases point to the need for centralization and assistance in achieving consistency in judicial rulings on contested questions.

Ultimately, a narrow group of cases will be chosen for hearing as so-called “bellwether” trials. These cases are intended to facilitate the likely response of juries to specific types of evidence common to many of the pending matters and to foster potential settlement of claims on a broader scale than might otherwise be feasible. The timelines for this and other key stages in the newly-established Bard IVC filter MDL remain to be determined.

  1. United States Judicial Panel on Mutidistrict Litigation, IN RE: Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation – Transfer Order,

  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Removing Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filters: Initial Communication,

  3. Cleveland Clinic, Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter Removal,

  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Removing Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filters: FDA Safety Communication,