Federal Court Overseeing C.R. Bard IVC Filter Lawsuits Issues New Order Amending Bellwether Discovery Schedule

Published on June 19, 2017 by Sandy Liebhard

The multidistrict litigation established for product liability lawsuits involving C.R. Bard, Inc.’s retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filters continues to move forward in the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona. According to a Case Management Order dated June 6th, the Court has amended the discovery schedule for Bellwether Group I, pursuant to stipulation of the parties.

The new schedule is as follows:

  • June 5, 2017: Plaintiffs’ case-specific expert disclosures
  • July 3, 2017: Defense case-specific expert disclosures
  • July 17, 2017: Case-specific rebuttal expert disclosures for Bellwether Group 1
  • August 7, 2017: Deadline for completion of additional case-specific medical witness depositions for Bellwether Group 1
  • August 7, 2017: Deadline for case-specific expert disclosures
  • August 15, 2017: Deadline for completion of additional case-specific discovery other than medical witness depositions for Bellwether Group 1

More than 2,000 IVC filter lawsuits are pending in the District of Arizona, all of which were filed on behalf of individuals who allegedly suffered serious complications due to migration, fracture or tilting of a C.R. Bard blood clot filter.  Plaintiffs further claim that the company failed to disclose these risks or take corrective action to improve the devices after becoming aware of patient injuries.

The litigation’s first bellwether trials are expected to begin in the Fall of 2017, and could provide insight into how other juries will rule in similar IVC filter lawsuits involving C.R. Bard’s products.

IVC Filter Complications

IVC filters are implanted in the inferior vena cava to prevent pulmonary embolism in patients unable to take standard blood-thinning medications.  Retrievable filters are intended to be removed once a patient is no longer at risk. However, in 2013 a paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggested that just 8.5% of these devices were successfully removed from patients.

Since 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued two safety alerts regarding the use of retrievable blood filters. The first was released in August 2010, after the devices were linked to hundreds of adverse events, including reports of filters fracturing and migrating to other areas of the body. In other cases, pieces of the filters perforated organs and blood vessels. In May 2014, the FDA issued a second alert to remind doctors of the importance of filter retrieval.

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