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Bard IVC Filter MDL Proceeds with Appointment of Leadership Counsel

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In August 2015, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all federal Bard IVC filter lawsuits into an MDL in the District of Arizona. Since then, both parties have been working toward selecting the first few cases to go to trial.

In a Case Management Order issued October 30, 2015, U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell made an official the appointment of a group of plaintiffs’ attorneys who will serve in various leadership roles. The judge also released a second Case Management Order on the same date, which summarized the October 29, 2015 case management conference.

Court Appoints Leadership Counsel in Bard IVC Filter MDL

Plaintiffs’ leadership counsel now includes two co-lead/liaison attorneys who will be responsible for coordinating service and filings, preparing agendas for court conferences, and coordinating discovery and litigation with other Bard IVC filter cases that are proceeding in state courts.

In addition, 22 other plaintiffs’ attorneys were assigned to the steering committee, where they will help with the following:

• initiate, coordinate, and conduct all pretrial discovery on behalf of the plaintiffs
• call meetings of counsel when needed
• examine witnesses and introduce evidence on behalf of plaintiffs at hearings
• submit and argue all verbal and written motions
• negotiate with defendants as needed
• explore, develop and pursue settlement options
• maintain adequate files of all pretrial matters

All appointments will last one year from the date of the order, at which time the lead/liaison counsel will file a memo notifying the court of the need for further appointments.

Second Order Establishes Upcoming Deadlines in Bard IVC Filter MDL

In the second Order, the Court summarized the proceedings of the October 29, 2015 case management conference, and established deadlines for tasks to be completed. Some of those deadlines include:

• By November 6, plaintiffs’ lead/liaison counsel is to submit to the court a proposal concerning the duty of the leadership counsel in coordinating pretrial practice, a procedure for making quarterly reports to the court, and procedures designed to avoid the duplication of common benefit discovery already completed in some of the Bard IVC filter cases.
• By November 6, parties must propose to the court profile forms to be completed by plaintiffs and defendants filing new cases into the MDL.
• By November 30, parties must present ESI protocol addressing the format of production, preservation, and other relevant ESI-discovery matters.
• By November 30, both parties should provide the court with a master complaint form.
• Parties are to discuss a possible agreement on the binding effect of discovery that’s already been completed, and submit a stipulation to the court by December 18.
• By January 15, the parties are to have completed the first phase of MDL discovery.

The next status conference is scheduled for January 29, 2016.

Plaintiffs Claim Bard IVC Filters Cause Injury

Plaintiffs involved in the Bard IVC filter MDL have similar complaints about the medical devices, which are designed to help prevent a pulmonary embolism (PE, or blood clot in the lung). The filters are small, cage-like devices meant to trap and dissipate potential blood clots traveling from the veins in the legs back to the lungs and heart.

Studies have suggested that these Bard IVC filters however, have higher than expected rates of fracture, and can puncture the inferior vena cava (the main vein taking blood from the legs back to the upper body), causing injury to the patient. The devices can also break, with the small legs or struts splitting off and migrating to other parts of the body, where they may puncture key organs.

Plaintiffs who have suffered injuries because of these devices claim the manufacturer failed to provide adequate warnings concerning the risks.