The federal court overseeing thousands of lawsuits involving C.R. Bard, Inc.’s inferior vena cava (IVC) filters will convene its second bellwether trial in May.
According to an Order issued in the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, on March 30th, the case selected for trial was filed on behalf of a Georgia woman who received C.R. Bard’s Eclipse blood clot filter in 2010 to treat recurrent deep vein thrombosis.
The plaintiff was admitted to the emergency room in 2015, after complaining of lightheadedness and chest pain. A scan revealed that one of the filter’s limbs had fractured and become embolized in her right pulmonary artery. Though doctors removed the device, the fractured limb remains in her body.
The case will head to trial on May 15, 2018, with a final Pretrial Conference scheduled for May 4th. The trial will last three weeks, with plaintiffs – who bear the burden of proof – allotted 28 hours to present their evidence. Defendants will have 27 hours.
The trial will be conducted in two phases, the first of which will determine liability, compensatory damages, and whether punitive damages should be awarded. The second phase, if needed, will determine the amount of punitive damages to be awarded.
More than 3,600 product liability claims have been centralized in the multidistrict litigation now underway in Arizona, all of which were filed on behalf of individuals who suffered life-threatening injuries and complications allegedly due to the malfunction of C.R. Bard’s retrievable blood clot filters, including the Recovery, G2, G2 Express, G2X, Eclipse, Meridian, and Denali devices.
The litigation’s first bellwether trial concluded late last month when C.R. Bard was ordered to pay $3.6 million (including $1.6 million in actual damages and $2 million in punitive damages) to a woman who suffered complications related to the fracture and migration of the company’s G2 IVC filter.
The litigation’s bellwether trials are considered test cases, as their verdicts are intended to provide insight into how other juries might rule in similar IVC filter claims.
C.R. Bard’s IVC filters are indicated for use in patients who are at risk for a dangerous type of blood clot called pulmonary embolism. The devices resemble tiny wire cages and are designed to prevent blood clots from reaching the heart or lungs once they have been implanted in the inferior vena cava. The devices are intended to be retrieved from the body once the patient is out of danger.
In 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration reported that its adverse event database had received more than 900 reports of complications involving retrievable IVC filters, 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.