Plaintiffs in IVC lawsuits, alleging serious injuries from fractured or migrated Bard inferior vena cava filters, recently won a significant victory in court against Bard Peripheral Vascular and C.R. Bard.
In the California Superior Court where a number of IVC lawsuits are pending, Judge Sturgeon denied Bard’s motion for summary judgment. The motion was a procedural tool that allows a defendant in a lawsuit to avoid trial by arguing that there is insufficient evidence for the plaintiffs to prove their case. The Court held that there was enough evidence that reasonable jurors could conclude that Bard had acted negligently and had failed to provide adequate warnings about the high failure rates of its IVC filters.
The IVC lawsuits allege that Bard negligently designed the Recovery and G2 Filters so that they were more likely to fail and cause injury than any other IVC filter on the market, and that Bard continued to market these devices to the public even after it became aware of the high failure rates, in reckless disregard for human health. The IVC lawsuits further claim that the warnings provided with the filters were deficient and failed to warn doctors and patients that the Recovery and G2 IVC filters had high failure rates.
Bard argued in its motion that there is no evidence that the devices suffered from higher failure rates and, even if there was, Bard had no duty to provide additional warnings.
The Court held that if the evidence was believed, the plaintiffs would be able to prove that Bard was aware of substantially higher failure rates in December, 2004. The Court cited a variety of evidence, including one doctor, who wrote: “Further investigation of the Recovery VCF filter performance in relation to migration and fracture is urgently warranted. . . . [Bard’s] reporting rates for all adverse events, filter fracture, filter migration, and filter migration deaths were found to be significantly higher than those for other removable filters.”
This IVC lawsuit decision represents an important step in vindicating plaintiffs’ legal rights against Bard. Notably, this is the second time that a court has rejected Bard’s argument that it had no legal duty to warn that its IVC filters had higher failure rates. This decision clears the way for plaintiffs to attempt to prove their cases in trials.
The full opinion can be found on page 161 here.