Bard’s PowerPort devices are implanted under the skin and pump intravenous chemotherapy and other fluid into a patient’s bloodstream. These are two-part devices with an injection reservoir and a catheter. Recently, plaintiffs in eight lawsuits against Becton, Dickinson & Company, C.R. Bard, Inc., and Bard Access Systems made a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 1407 to centralize litigation arising out of Bard’s Power Port devices in the Western District of Missouri. They allege that due to the catheters on the devices breaking, they suffered blood clots, infections, chest pain, and other life-threatening complications; many of them needed to undergo emergency surgeries to extract pieces of catheter. If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of a Bard Power Port device, you should call the seasoned Chicago-based attorneys of Moll Law Group about your potential claim. Billions have been recovered in product liability lawsuits around the country with which we’ve been involved.
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The Panel determined that the lawsuits involved common questions of fact and that just and efficient litigation would be promoted by centralizing the case in the District of Arizona. They found that the common factual questions involve allegations that there is too great a concentration of barium sulfate used during the manufacturing of the catheter in the port devices.
This concentration, purportedly, reduces the catheter’s material integrity, which can in turn result in fracture or migration of the catheter, infection, and thrombosis. The multidistrict litigation will be looking at whether the design of the Bard port catheters requires too high a concentration of barium sulfate, as well as whether the defendant’s tested the devices sufficiently and whether they appropriately monitored and reported adverse events related to product failures.
A 2021 report determined that there is a 59% complication rate with these devices. The litigation includes 10 lawsuits pending in six districts, but according to the plaintiffs’ counsel, has the potential to include many more cases. The motion informed the Panel that there were 38 potential tag-along actions.
The centralization of the lawsuits will allow the court to significantly streamline pretrial proceedings, reduce the expense associated with duplicative discovery and conflicting pretrial obligations and rulings on similar motions.
The defendants made several arguments against centralizing the cases. They argued that the lawsuits would feature factual issues that are individual with regards to varying types of injuries, products and when each plaintiff was injured. The Panel commented that often causation is specific to a plaintiff but that has not, historically, stopped centralization. In this case, factual issues that are individualized seem unlikely to diminish the possibility of resolving the cases more efficiently through multidistrict litigation.
The defendants also argued that they had informally coordinated lawsuits that were similar with plaintiffs’ counsel and that those cases settled early on. The Panel noted that informal coordination at this point with the number of cases involved—nearly 50 actions in 28 districts—was likely to be unworkable. They further claimed that the lawsuits filed were meritless. The Panel rejected these arguments.
The Panel chose the District of Arizona as the transferee district for the multidistrict litigation because Bard Access Systems has a significant business presence there and relevant witnesses are present there.
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If you or a loved one were harmed by a Bard PowerPort device, you should contact the experienced Chicago-based product liability lawyers of Moll Law Group about whether you have a viable claim. We fight for injured consumers and patients around the United States. Complete our online form or call us at 312.462.1700.