The federal court overseeing thousands of IVC filter lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard, Inc. has cleared the way for the litigation’s second bellwether trial, after denying the company’s bid to dismiss the plaintiffs’ failure-to-warn and punitive damage claims.
Well over 3,0000 cases are currently pending against C.R. Bard in the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, where all federal product liability claims involving the company’s allegedly-defective inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, including the retrievable Recovery, G2, G2 Express, G2X, Eclipse, Meridian, and Denali devices, have been centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
The case selected for the litigation’s second bellwether trial was filed on behalf of Doris Jones, who experienced life-threatening complications related to the fracture and embolization of an allegedly defective Eclipse IVC filter. The outcome of the Jones trial is expected to provide some insight into how other juries might decide similar lawsuits involving the Eclipse device.
C.R. Bard had filed a motion seeking summary judgment on Jones’s failure-to-warn, misrepresentation, negligence per se, consumer fraud and unfair trade practices, and punitive damages claims. The Court did grant the company’s motion in regards to the claims for misrepresentation, negligence per se, consumer fraud and unfair trade practices. However, per an Order dated March 13th, C.R. Bard was denied its request for summary judgement on her failure-to-warn and punitive damage claims after the Court determined that Jones had presented sufficient evidence to argue that the company’s safety warnings were inadequate.
Jones’s IVC filter lawsuit is scheduled to go before a jury on May 15th. A final pretrial conference will be convened on May 4th.
C.R. Bard’s IVC filters are indicated for use in patients who cannot take standard blood-thinning medications, but who are at risk for pulmonary embolism. Once inserted into the inferior vena cava, the small, spider-like filters are designed to catch blood clots before they can make their way to the heart or lungs. The blood clot filters at the center of the C.R. Bard litigation are retrievable and are designed to be removed once a patient is no longer at risk for pulmonary embolism.
Plaintiffs who have filed IVC filter lawsuits against C.R. Bard claim that the company’s devices are more dangerous than other IVC filters because they have higher risks of tilting, perforating the inferior vena cava, or fracturing and migrating to vital organs. Plaintiffs further allege that C. R. Bard failed to warn physicians and patients about these higher risks.
In 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration reported that its adverse event database had received more than 900 reports complications in relation to retrievable IVC filters. These events included:
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.