Bard IVC Filter Litigation Progresses with First Bellwether Trial

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Judge with gavel and folder of documents

The first test case in a mass litigation against a manufacturer of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters is just weeks away.

Sherr-Una Booker’s federal case, set for trial on March 14 in Phoenix, is among more than 3,000 complaints consolidated in a multidistrict litigation against medical device manufacturer C.R. Bard.

The company, based in Murray Hill, N.J., makes devices called IVC filters. They are designed to trap blood clots in the inferior vena cava, the body’s largest vein, and prevent pulmonary embolisms.

Test cases, also known as bellwethers, are important because they gauge how juries will weigh the facts in other similar cases.

U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell is presiding in Booker’s case and the others filed against C.R. Bard over its G2 model IVC filter.

Bard’s G2 Filter Has Higher Rate of Risks

Booker sued in February 2016, nearly a decade after implantation, alleging serious complications from the device.

Booker’s injuries included filter tilting, fracture and perforation, according to her lawsuit.

Did you suffer complications from an Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter? Get a Free Case Review

Bard argued during an earlier hearing that it should not be liable for Booker’s “failure to warn” claim about the device’s risks.

Bard pointed out that all complications experienced by Booker “were well-documented and known to medical professionals.”

But Campbell said Bard’s argument “misses the mark.” Evidence shows that Bard’s G2 IVC filter has “higher complication rates” and “substantially greater risks of failure” than competitor brands and one of Bard’s prior models, the judge wrote in an order.

“Presumably there is a point where the risks of a product so depart from the norm that a failure to disclose them constitutes an inadequate warning. Whether that point was reached in this case will be for the jury to decide,” Campbell noted.

Cook Bellwether Unsuccessful for Plaintiffs

A bellwether trial conducted in late 2017 against a different IVC filter manufacturer, Cook Medical, ended in a victory for the device maker.

U.S. District Chief Judge Robert L. Young at the Southern District of Indiana in Evansville presided over the three-week bellwether trial that began on October 23, 2017.

Plaintiff Elizabeth Jane Hill of Dunnellon, Florida, argued that Cook had failed to inform doctors that its IVC filter was not able to be removed. She claimed that Cook’s statements about the safety of its device were “false and misleading.”

Hill was implanted with Cook’s removable Celect IVC filter in November 2010. An attempt to remove the device in March 2011 was unsuccessful.

Hill later developed fatigue, inflammation and severe gastrointestinal symptoms. She also suffered from persistent vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Hill had an endoscopy procedure that showed the filter had perforated her inferior vena cava and migrated to her small intestine.

Doctors at a specialty hospital were finally able to remove the Celect device. Hill’s IVC had permanent damage as a result.  Despite Hill’s claims, though, a federal jury decided unanimously in favor of Cook Medical.

Hundreds of IVC filter cases are still pending against Cook as a part of a multidistrict litigation.

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Kristin Compton
Written By Kristin Compton Writer

Kristin Compton's background is in legal studies. She worked as a paralegal before joining Drugwatch as a writer and researcher. She was also a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants. A mother and longtime patient, she has firsthand experience of the harmful effects prescription drugs can have on women and their children. Some of her qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies | Pre-Law from University of West Florida
  • Past employment with The Health Law Firm and Kerrigan, Estess, Rankin, McLeod & Thompson LLC
  • Personal experience battling severe food allergies, asthma and high-risk pregnancies
Edited By
Kevin Connolly
Kevin Connolly Managing Editor

6 Cited Research Articles

  1. Booker v. C.R. Bard, Inc. et al. (2017, November 22). Order. United States District Court For The District of Arizona. No. CV-16-00474. Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-azd-2_15-md-02641/pdf/USCOURTS-azd-2_15-md-02641-18.pdf
  2. Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation. (2017, January 4). Amended Case Management Order #19 (Amended Bellwether Trial Plan). United States District Court Southern District of Indiana Indianapolis Division. Case No. 1:14-ml-2570. MDL No. 2570. Retrieved from http://www.insd.uscourts.gov/sites/insd/files/MDL%202570%20Amended%20Case%20Mgmt%20Order%2019.pdf
  3. Bodine, L. (2017, November 10). Defense Verdict in First Mass Tort Trial Over IVC Filters. The National Trial Lawyers. Retrieved from https://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/2017/11/first-trial-underway-in-cook-ivc-filter-mass-tort-case/
  4. Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation. (n.d.). Docket. U.S. Government Publishing Office. No. MDL 15-2641. Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/USCOURTS-azd-2_15-md-02641/USCOURTS-azd-2_15-md-02641-1/content-detail.html
  5. Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation. (2017, December 21). Order. United States District Court For The District of Arizona. No. MDL 15-02641. Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-azd-2_15-md-02641/pdf/USCOURTS-azd-2_15-md-02641-20.pdf
  6. Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation. (2018, January 22). Order. United States District Court For The District of Arizona. No. MDL 15-02641. Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-azd-2_15-md-02641/pdf/USCOURTS-azd-2_15-md-02641-25.pdf
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