The mass tort landscape has been relatively calm in recent months, but a storm is brewing with the Bard PowerPort case gaining momentum. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this unfolding legal saga surrounding a cardiovascular catheter device that has stirred the interests of many, ourselves included.
Understanding the Bard PowerPort: This implantable device, a small plastic disk under the skin, facilitates the repeated delivery of medications, intravenous fluids, and nutrition solutions. However, the primary claim by plaintiffs points to a design flaw—specifically, the use of polyurethane (Chonoflex AL), alleged to cause fractures, migration, infections, and more.
Ignored Warnings and FDA Intervention: Alarming reports surfaced shortly after the product release, but Bard seemingly turned a blind eye, continuing to sell and market the device. Matters escalated until March 2020, when the FDA recalled three PowerPort models due to issues like bloodstream infection, displacement, fracture, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Scale of Implantations and Potential Victims: Over 300,000 devices, predominantly crafted by Bard, have been implanted. While not all failed, a significant number of potential victims are emerging. Estimates from law firms suggest a plaintiff pool ranging from 8,000 to 12,000, with numerous cases still unrepresented.
Legal Landscape and MDL Centralization: In August, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized the case as MDL 3081 in Arizona’s district court under Judge David Campbell. Despite his conservative background, he is respected in the legal community. Over 60 cases have already been transferred, with more expected, and a New Jersey state MDL is in the works.
Bard’s Legal History and Ongoing Challenges: Bard’s legal history includes settlements for pelvic mesh cases and deceptive marketing. With over 11,000 plaintiffs in polypropylene hernia mesh litigation and 1,300 in the IVC filter litigation, the company’s legal department is undoubtedly busy.
Challenges and Lagging Progress: Despite the potential for thousands of cases, only 60 are in the MDL. Speculations suggest the lag may be due to the time needed for doctors and patients to establish connections between the device and its side effects.
Outlook and Case Developments: As lawyers intensify marketing efforts, case evaluations are expected to drive more filings. The Bard PowerPort case is just beginning, with the MDL yet to gain full momentum. Despite the absence of a court website, Co-Lead Counsel and a PSC have been announced, adding intrigue to the unfolding legal drama.
Insights from Fadi Agour: Early findings reveal common injuries, primarily severe infections leading to device removal. Other complications include blood clots, fractures, and breaks. Cases filed by representatives often stem from the passing of the injured party, though deaths are attributed to the original diagnosis, typically cancer. The use of the port extends beyond chemotherapy to medications for conditions like sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.
Stay tuned as this legal saga unfolds, promising more revelations and developments in the Bard PowerPort case.