The parties to thousands of IVC filter lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard, Inc. are working on a proposal to establish a separate track for cases that stand a good chance of being resolved through settlement.
Bard is facing more than 5,700 product liability claims involving its inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, including the Recovery, G2, Eclipse, Denali, Meridian, and Simon Nitinol devices. Most of these cases have been centralized before U.S. District Judge David E. Campbell of the District of Arizona.
IVC filters are placed into the inferior vena cava to prevent pulmonary embolism in patients at risk for blood clots, but who are unable to use standard blood thinning medications. Plaintiffs claim that Bard’s devices are defectively designed, fractured and migrated after implantation, and life-threatening complications that resulted in additional surgery to remove the filters and fractured pieces.
Judge Campbell has already stated to remand Bard IVC filter lawsuits considered “mature” to their original court of filing for individual trials. Recently, he also suggested remanding large groups of cases if the parties could not reach a settlement to resolve the litigation.
But in Case Management Order dated February 8th, Judge Campbell said he was willing to consider a separate track for Bard IVC filter lawsuits likely to result in individual settlements, including those that are near settlement or that have already been settled in principle. He further directed the parties to submit a joint proposal for such a procedure by March 1st.
“Any such proposal would need to specify the basis on which a case would be identified to be placed on a settlement track rather than being remanded to the transferor court, establish a schedule under which cases on the settlement track would either reach a completed settlement or be remanded, and a schedule for when the settlement track would be initiated and how long it would remain in place,” he wrote.
Once the parties submit their proposal, Judge Campbell will decide whether the creation of a settlement track is appropriate, or if the remand of all Bard IVC filter lawsuits should begin once the litigation concludes its final bellwether trial.
The Bard IVC filter litigation has already convened three bellwether trials. The first concluded last March, when a recipient of the Bard G2 IVC filter was awarded $3.6 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
The second trial involved Bard’s Eclipse IVC filter, with the jury finding for the defense last May.
Bard also prevailed in the third bellwether trial, which concluded in October and involved the G2X IVC filter.
A case filed on behalf of Barbara Tinlin was selected for the litigation’s final bellwether trial, which is set to begin on May 13th. According to her complaint, the Wisconsin resident was forced to undergo open heart surgery after her Recovery IVC filter fractured and migrated.
Given her current health status, it’s not clear that Tinlin will be able to travel to Arizona for trial. According to the February 8th Order, the Court is exploring the possibility that she could participate remotely from the federal court in Wisconsin.