A case involving two competitors, manufacturers of tips used to insert central catheters into patients’ veins, has moved closer to trial following Judge Brenda K. Sannes’s opinion denying summary judgment and granting defendants C.R. Bard Inc. and Bard Access Systems Inc.’s (collectively, Bard) motion to exclude some trial testimony of AngioDynamics Inc.’s causation and damages expert. The 105-page opinion rendered on Wednesday addressed the three motions, accompanying documentary evidence, and lay and expert witness testimony.
Judge Sannes of the Northern District of New York first explained that both AngioDynamics and Bard “compete to develop, manufacture, market, and sell vascular access medical devices,” including peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs). PICCs, usually placed in the large vein leading to the right atrium of the heart, are used to deliver medications, fluids, and nutrients, sample blood, and power-inject contrast agents, the opinion stated.
During placement of a PICC, clinicians often use a stylet inside the PICC to stiffen it so that it can be navigated through the patient’s veins. Medical device companies have come up with Tip Location System (TLS) technology that pinpoints the location of the stylet as it moves through the body and confirms the PICC’s location once it has been placed.
Reportedly, several companies compete in the PICC sales market. The three largest competitors, by market share, are Bard, AngioDynamics, and Teleflex Incorporated, Judge Sannes wrote.
The 2017 lawsuit stems from AngioDynamics’ claim that Bard’s policy of only selling the proprietary stylet for its TLS preloaded into its own PICCs, and refusing to sell its TLS stylet separately for use with its competitors’ PICCs, constitutes an illegal tie in violation of the Sherman Act. The plaintiff requested treble damages, a permanent injunction, and declaratory relief.
The opinion explained that AngioDynamics moved for partial summary judgment on liability and antitrust injury, while Bard moved for summary judgment seeking dismissal of the complaint.
The court held that based on the proffered evidence, genuine disputes of material fact existed as to each of the liability elements of AngioDynamics’ claim for purposes of both its “per se” and “rule of reason” theories. Similarly, the court denied the parties’ motions with respect to antitrust injury after finding “triable issues of fact with respect to every component of the antitrust injury element.”
As for Bard’s motion to preclude certain testimony of AngioDynamics’ expert, Dr. Alan Frankel, the court found that the data underlying his benchmarking analysis was “so unreliable as to require exclusion.” Though Bard asked the court to dismiss other damages claims if it granted the motion in limine, the court declined.