IVC filter lawsuits involving C.R. Bard, Inc.’s Simon Nitinol devices are eligible for inclusion in the federal multidistrict litigation previously established for personal injury claims concerning the company’s retrievable blood clot filters.
More than 5,400 cases involving Bard’s inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are undergoing centralized pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona. The majority of blood clot filter lawsuits, however, allege injuries related to retrievable products, including the Recovery, G2, and Eclipse IVC filter.
An additional 86 IVC filter lawsuits concern Bard’s Simon Nitinol IVC filter, which is indicated for permanent placement.
On November 1, 2018, Bard filed a Motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) requesting that the Arizona multidistrict litigation be expanded to included the Simon Nitinol filter lawsuits, as the proceeding was originally limited to retrievable IVC filters.
Among other things, Bard noted that Judge David G. Campbell had informed the parties of his willingness to oversee the Simon Nitinol blood clot filter lawsuits. The company further asserted that all of the cases—permanent and retrievable filter alike—concern common and overlapping factual and legal issues with which Judge Campbell is intimately familiar.
According to a January 2nd Order, however, the JPML determined that it was not necessary to expand the scope of the federal litigation to include the Simon Nitinol filter claims.
In doing so, the Panel pointed out that 85 cases involving Bard’s Simon Nitinol filter had already been filed directly in the proceeding, without objection from any party. Furthermore, the transfer of a Simon Nitinol IVC filter lawsuit from Oklahoma federal court had also been finalized without objection.
In consideration of these developments, the JPML found Bard’s motion to be moot.
IVC filters are indicated for use in patients at risk for pulmonary embolism, but who are unable to use standard blood-thinning medications.
The devices resemble tiny, wire cages and are designed for implantation in the inferior vena cava. Once in place, they are able to intercept blood clots before they can travel to the heart and lungs. Retrievable filters, such as the Bard Recovery, Bard G2, and Bard Eclipse IVC filters, are designed to be removed once a patient is out of danger.
Plaintiffs pursuing blood clot filter lawsuits in Arizona claim that Bard’s devices are defective and prone to fracture, migration, and other malfunctions that may result in serious and even life-threatening injuries. They further allege that Bard was aware of these issues, but failed warn doctors and patients about the potential for devastating IVC filter complications.
The federal litigation has already convened several bellwether trials involving Bard’s retrievable blood clot filters. Such trials are intended to provide insight into how other juries might rule in similar cases.
The first bellwether trial concluded last March, when a patient implanted with the Bard G2 IVC filter was awarded $3.6 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
The second trial focused on the Eclipse IVC filter and concluded last May with a win for Bard.
A third blood clot filter lawsuit involving the Eclipse device was to go to trial last August. However, the case was dismissed when the Court found it had been filed outside the governing statute of limitations.
Bard also won the fourth bellwether trial, which concluded in October and involved the G2X IVC filter.