Arizona Judge Pares Claims in Third Bard Bellwether Case

A federal judge in Arizona has pared some claims in the third Bard bellwether case involving the company’s IVC filters. The move came during the fourth bellwether trial in the multi-district litigation over the IVC filters.

IVC filters are designed to prevent blood clots from passing the body’s largest vein into the lungs and heart.

In the first bellwether case, a jury in Phoenix awarded the plaintiff $3.6 million in damages.

The verdict came after 11 hours of trial and deliberation for 6.5 hours. The jury ordered that Bard pay $1.6 million for failure to warn of the filter’s risks and $2 million in punitive damages. That verdict came just before the start of the next trial.

The plaintiff in that case had suffered serious complications after the IVC filter fractured inside of her body.

Bard prevailed in the second bellwether trial. The jury found that the company warned of the potential risks and complications associated with IVC filters. The third case was dismissed, as the statutes of limitations had expired.

The current and fourth bellwether trial, Hyde v. Bard, went to trial last month. Judge David Campbell of the U.S. District Court for Arizona ruled on a judgment as a matter of law entered by Bard after the plaintiff rested her case.

According to court documents, the judge allowed three of the claims – design defect, loss of consortium and punitive damages – but tossed the claim for arrhythmia damages. The plaintiff was seeking to claim the medical cost of an implantable defibrillator should she need one in the future. The judge ruled that under state law, “future injuries and medical care must be established by a medical probability, not a mere possibility.”

An expert witness, a physician, had testified that Hyde would need to be monitored for arrhythmia and that she may need a defibrillator in the future.