• IVC Filter Lawsuits Consolidated in Federal Court
  • July 28, 2016
  • Law Firm: Waters Kraus LLP - Dallas Office
  • Hundreds of IVC filter lawsuits against C.R. Bard Inc. (Bard) have been transferred to a federal multi-district litigation (MDL) judge in Phoenix, Arizona. To date, more than 400 blood clot filter cases have been filed in federal court against the New Jersey-based medical device maker. Bard has marketed and sold its IVC blood clot filters as a way to capture blood clots before they reach the lungs or heart. The danger with IVC filters is that they can break apart, allowing pieces from the medical device to puncture a patient’s internal organs or become embedded, requiring surgical intervention. If you have been injured by an IVC filter, an experienced lawyer with Waters Kraus & Paul can explain what the MDL means for your potential lawsuit.

    Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) and IVC Filter Lawsuits

    Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a procedure the federal courts use to handle hundreds or thousands of lawsuits that may be filed in federal courts across the country related to a specific dangerous drug or defective medical device, like IVC filters or transvaginal mesh, for example. Although each person’s injuries may be different, the issues involving the medical device maker that manufactured the defective product are the same in each case. According to IVC filter lawyer Sara Coopwood in Waters Kraus & Paul’s Texas office, these issues include:
    • What testing did the company do before placing its defective product on the market?
    • When did the defendant first learn of potential health risks associated with its product?
    • Once the manufacturer learned of a potential problem, what steps did it take to warn past and future consumers?
    • How long did the manufacturer hide what it knew from the public?
    • Was the company more concerned with making money than protecting the patients its products were supposed to help?
    With the MDL procedure, all federal cases involving the same defective product are consolidated before one federal judge for pretrial purposes. If the MDL is located in Phoenix, as it is for Bard’s IVC filters, then even if your case was originally filed in federal court in California, Illinois or Texas, it is transferred to the MDL in Arizona. The court in California, for example, would be known as the transferor court and the court in Phoenix would be referred to as the transferee court. Bard actually operates a facility in Tempe, Arizona in the Phoenix metro area, but it is not necessary for the defendant to have a geographical tie to the transferee court.

    The MDL process streamlines litigation by allowing the investigation into a defendant’s wrongdoing to be conducted one time in one court with one set of rules as opposed to dozens or hundreds of times in multiple courts across the country. When discovery and other pretrial proceedings concerning facts and law that the cases all share in common are complete, the individual cases go back for trial in the transferor courts where they were originally filed. That’s if the parties do not reach a settlement or if the cases are not dismissed first.

    The Honorable David G. Campbell is the MDL judge for the Bard IVC filter litigation pending in Arizona. Judge Campbell’s most recent case management order, entered June 21, 2016, concerns the specific procedures to govern depositions of witnesses on both sides of the litigation.