In August 2023, the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation approved the consolidation of active Bard PowerPort lawsuits brought against Becton, Dickinson and Company and its subsidiaries after a flurry of contentious court filings and hearing sessions. What ensued was a concerted effort on the part of participating product liability attorneys to coordinate their efforts and produce a leadership structure to guide the pretrial proceedings.
The final product was a 300-page document outlining the proposed leadership apparatus, advancing nominations, and containing impressive resumes from some of the finest personal injury lawyers in the country. The memorandum and motion come in the days leading up to the Initial Status Conference where it will serve as a preliminary but tentative guide for a future, court-approved leadership structure.
Table of contents
- Court Filing in Bard PowerPort Litigation Nominates Co-Lead Counsel and Liaisons, Establishes Committees
- Limited Pushback from Bard PowerPort Counsel to Proposed MDL Organization
- Becton, Dickinson and Co. and Bard Access Systems Objects to August Transfer Order
- What Do the Bard PowerPort Product Liability Lawsuits Allege?
- Experienced Product Liability Attorneys Can Help in Your Bard PowerPort Lawsuit Today
Court Filing in Bard PowerPort Litigation Nominates Co-Lead Counsel and Liaisons, Establishes Committees
After the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) approved a transfer order request from 10 plaintiffs pursuing individual Bard PowerPort lawsuits against Becton, Dickinson and Co., Judge David G. Campbell of the transferee District Court of Arizona ordered attorneys to compose a leadership structure to guide the litigation. In multidistrict litigation, cases targeting a common defendant and alleging similar injuries are consolidated only for pretrial proceedings.
Nonetheless, MDLs require coordination throughout the important discovery process, wherein critical evidence is collected to bolster litigants’ arguments and pretrial settlement negotiations. Given the propensity of MDLs to expand until state-specific statutes of limitation expire, it is paramount to establish a thorough organizational apparatus to streamline the interactions between existing cases and to accommodate emergent claims.
The mid-September court filing from Bard PowerPort lawsuit plaintiffs’ counsel offers an extensive and robust structure, replete with committees, subcommittees, and liaisons. Submitted with the support of the vast majority of current independent counsel, the memorandum and motion propose the appointment and creation of the following.
3 Co-Lead Counsel in Bard PowerPort Lawsuits
The motion filed by the movants on September 11 confidently proposes for co-lead counsel Adam M. Evans, Rebecca Phillips, and Michael Sacchet, three experienced product liability attorneys with particular familiarity with defective medical device litigation. The movants further endorse their abilities and steadfast commitment to managing efficiently and effectively the Bard PowerPort MDL proceedings while simultaneously respecting the need for the plaintiffs to maintain close connections to their respective counsel.
Bard PowerPort MDL Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC)
If the court filing is approved, the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) for the Bard PowerPort multidistrict litigation will be composed of 11 attorneys who will assume important roles in representing the plaintiffs’ collective interests in the MDL legal proceedings. The movants also relied upon specific criteria from the Federal Judicial Center’s Manual for Complex Litigation for nomination purposes. The criteria enshrine guidelines ranging from attorney forthrightness and competence to compensation and reimbursement.
For the purposes of the leadership structure memorandum and motion, the movants are primarily concerned with justifying the necessity of the proposal and the commitment of all nominated attorneys to providing exemplary service and observing fairness in the upcoming and, potentially, contentious legal proceedings.
Bard PowerPort MDL Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC)
Leadership structures of this sort are designed to ensure that all collective pretrial phases are handled efficiently and with the utmost collegiality. The Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC), pending court approval, would be composed of 13 attorneys and, like the PEC, would handle important procedural and strategic matters on behalf of the plaintiffs.
The court filing regularly emphasizes the movants’ determination to expedite the discovery process and openly share findings with the plaintiffs’ independent counsel. Although this is par for the course with such motions, it is, nevertheless, an important reminder of the significance of establishing the legitimacy of any provisional leadership structure in the face of a hostile defense.
Eight Additional Bard PowerPort MDL Committees
On top of the key executive organs established in the September 11 proposal, the movants also suggest the creation of 8 committees, including:
- Law and Briefing
- Science and Experts
- Litigation Management
- Common Benefit
Presumably, these additional committees would, if approved, assist in the procedural advancement of decisions which the executive committees intend to make.
Limited Pushback from Bard PowerPort Counsel to Proposed MDL Organization
Although the movants continually cite the goodwill expressed by the overwhelming majority of the counsel, there remains limited resistance from reticent attorneys. The court filing states that a California-based trial attorney intends to submit a “separate slate or request appointment to [a] leadership position[s] in this MDL” and that other unnamed counsel may be preparing to do the same.
The movants of the Bard PowerPort proposal explicitly addressed the negotiations which they undertook with the skeptical parties and restated their willingness to provide a position in the leadership structure “subject to [the trial attorney’s] interest.”
Becton, Dickinson and Co. and Bard Access Systems Objects to August Transfer Order
When 10 plaintiffs pursuing Bard PowerPort product liability lawsuits against Becton, Dickinson and Co. and Bard Access Systems, Inc. decided to seek a transfer order to consolidate the cases into a multidistrict litigation, the defendants objected in court. Rejecting the appropriateness of a MDL to handle the active cases, they also asserted in court filings that they had profound reservations about the goodwill of the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
In the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML)’s transfer order grant, U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell, the chair of the panel, explicitly addresses allegations made by the defendants that “certain plaintiffs’ counsel have made false representations” in an illegitimate advertising campaign to increase the number of Bard PowerPort lawsuits. Aside from the serious ethical implications of the assertions, they also served a critical role in the defendants’ legal arguments against the consolidation of the independent lawsuits.
Judge Caldwell cites earlier panel decisions that rejected similar assertions by defendants about the meritlessness of pending lawsuits and the threat of frivolous claims. Her opinion reiterates the importance of placing the burden of proof for such statements squarely on the shoulders of the defendants and Becton, Dickinson and Co. and Bard Access Systems’ failure to substantiate their claims.
This contentious exchange likely influenced the language of the September motion and memorandum, prompting the participating attorneys to reiterate their adherence to the guidelines established in the judicial manual for complex litigation.
What Do the Bard PowerPort Product Liability Lawsuits Allege?
Bard Access Systems and C.R. Bard Inc. have found themselves, alongside their parent company, Becton, Dickinson and Company, as the center of the current Bard PowerPort lawsuits. These product liability cases allege that the companies’ widespread PowerPort catheters were composed of an unstable mixture of polyurethane and barium sulfate which caused the implants to fracture or migrate within the body.
The Becton, Dickinson and Co. PowerPort catheters once promised to provide a wonderful alternative to regular injections for the treatment of a variety of illnesses. When installed for extended periods, the Bard PowerPorts facilitate the intravenous delivery of fluids and medicines which would otherwise require constant pin-pricks and needles.
Adverse Side Effects of Bard PowerPort Design Flaws
The design flaws of the Bard PowerPort devices leave them structurally weak and liable to fractures, fissures, displacement, and deterioration. The consequences of these defects may result in injuries such as:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Organ damage
- Tissue damage
- Severe infections
- Cardiac arrhythmia
What is even more alarming is Becton, Dickinson, and Co.’s intentional evasion of more thorough postmarketing scrutiny and reports from physicians and users alike which the company would have received through the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS). Instead, an amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act permitted the Bard PowerPort manufacturer to avoid traditionally extensive oversight for its newer but analogous devices.
Given the medical expenses associated with the treatment of these illnesses and conditions, especially when compounded with the loss of income and quality of life, you may be eligible to pursue compensation with a Bard PowerPort lawsuit for Becton, Dickinson and Company’s failure to warn you of the risks associated with Bard PowerPort products.
Experienced Product Liability Attorneys Can Help in Your Bard PowerPort Lawsuit Today
Individuals who relied upon Bard PowerPorts were likely using them to assist in the treatment of preexisting and, potentially, life-threatening illnesses. They must now contend with the risk or reality of additional conditions on account of Becton, Dickinson and Co., Bard Access Systems, and C.R. Bard Inc.’s irresponsible business practices.
Our experienced defective medical device lawyers have extensive knowledge about the complicated judicial and statutory landscape surrounding mass tort litigation. In a free consultation with one of our product liability attorneys, you can seek more information about the eligibility of your claim, the compensation to which you may be entitled, and guidance about how best to proceed.
When a massive multinational company behaves poorly and exploits the public’s vulnerability, it and its subsidiaries should be held accountable. A lack of information can prove lethal, as Becton, Dickinson and Co. well know. Plaintiffs in Bard PowerPort lawsuits are not only entitled to fair compensation but also to see these companies face consequences for their negligence.