Bard IVC Filter Litigation in Bellwether Selection PhaseJul 13, 2016
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all federally filed C.R. Bard interior vena cava (IVC) filter lawsuits into one court in the District of Arizona in August 2015. Since, both sides have been working on bellwether case decisions.
Judge David G. Campbell, who is overseeing the proceedings, signed a case management order May 5, 2016 that detailed the bellwether selection process. The result should be that 50 cases are chosen as eligible to be initially tried; some 400 cases are pending in the federal court system and the C.R. Bard IVC Filter lawsuits similarly allege device migration and blood clots, along with other serious injuries such as vein and organ perforation.
The human body's two largest veins, the vena cavas, carry deoxygenated blood into the heart. The inferior vena cava (IVC) carries blood from the lower body. The IVC filter device is a one-and-a-half-inch metal "spider-shaped" or "cage-like" trap device inserted into the IVC to block blood clots from traveling to the heart, lungs, and brain in individuals diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Patients also undergo surgery for implantation with an IVC filter following serious injury, including car accident injuries, gunshots or stab wounds, spinal cord damage, or wounds from serious falls. Patients who cannot take blood-thinning drugs, or who do not benefit from the medications for treatment with an IVC filter.
IVC filters have been associated with reports of fracturing and device migration in patients' bodies, which may lead to significant and life-threatening injuries that include: Bleeding; chest pain; confusion; death; further embolus; heart rhythm problems; internal bleeding; lightheadedness; low blood pressure; nausea; perforation of the IVC and other organs, including the heart and lungs; severe pain; a shortness of breath.
The goal of the IVC MDL is to select representative cases that will be chosen for bellwether trial. This better enables both sides to understand how juries may react to the evidence. Often, bellwethers assist in the facilitation of settlement negotiations between the parties, which more rapidly resolves litigation.
Judge Campbell's Order indicated that, any case filed before April 2016 will be eligible for inclusion in the bellwether process. The judge imposed the following deadlines:
- By June 29, 2016: The parties will exchange their lists of 24 representative cases selected from the initial plaintiff pool, to be known as Group 1 cases.
- By December 9, 2016: The parties shall exchange lists of 10 selected cases from Group 1 and will designate four cases for automatic inclusion in Discovery Group 1. The parties will meet and confer to choose the remaining four additional cases to be included in this group.
- By December 16, 2016: The parties will complete this part of the process and submit the list of 12 cases they recommend as Discovery Group 1 to the Court.
- By March 1, 2017: The parties will exchange lists of six proposed selections from Discovery Group 1 for bellwether plaintiffs and will meet and confer to pick up six final cases for Bellwether Group 1. Once confirmed, trial dates will be scheduled.