The federal court overseeing thousands of IVC (inferior vena cava) filter lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard, Inc. will convene its first bellwether trial next month.
According to an Order issued in the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, on February 12th, the trial will be conducted in two phases: the first to determine liability, compensatory damages, and whether the plaintiff is entitled to punitive damages. The second phase – if necessary – will focus on the amount of punitive damages the plaintiff should be awarded.
C.R. Bard is named a defendant in more than 3,500 injury claims involving its retrievable IVC filters, which are designed for use in patients at risk for pulmonary embolism but for whom standard anticoagulant medications are inappropriate. Once implanted in the inferior vena cava, the small, cage-like structures intercept blood clots before they can reach the heart or lungs. The devices at the center of this litigation, including the Recovery, G2 and Denali IVC filters, are intended to be retrieved once a patient is no longer at risk for pulmonary embolism.
In 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration reported that its adverse event database had received more than 900 reports of IVC filter complications linked to retrievable devices, including:
Four years later, the agency issued a second advisory urging healthcare providers to retrieve temporary blood clot filters within 29 to 54 days of their implantation in order to reduce the risk of patient harm.
Plaintiffs pursuing IVC filter lawsuits against C.R. Bard claim that the company’s devices are defective, making them prone to tilting, migration, and fracture, all of which can lead to serious and life-threatening patient injuries. They also claim that the company failed to properly warn doctors and patients about the importance of timely IVC filter retrieval.
Jury selection for the litigation’s first trial is already underway, as the Court previously mailed case-specific questionnaires to 200 prospective jurors. Following a final Pretrial Conference on March 2nd, 60 of those individuals will be called to court for questioning. Nine will be selected to serve on the jury.
Opening statements in the case are set to begin on March 14th.
The IVC filter lawsuit selected for trial was filed on behalf of Sherr-Una Booker, who allegedly suffered serious injuries and complications related to C.R. Bard’s G2 filter. As a bellwether trial, the outcome of the Booker case could provide some insight into how other juries will decide similar IVC filter lawsuits