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C.R. Bard Hernia Mesh Lawsuits May Be Centralized

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) recently heard arguments regarding the possible consolidation of federal hernia mesh lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard and its Davol subsidiary. If the JPML decides to consolidate the cases, it would add to the growing number of multidistrict litigations (MDLs) proceeding against hernia mesh manufacturers. Currently, there are about 1,250 Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits pending. That MDL is proceeding in the Northern District of Georgia. There are also about 470 Atrium C-Qur mesh lawsuits, which are pending in an MDL in the District of New Hampshire.

Possible MDL for C.R. Bard mesh cases

Currently, there are product liability lawsuits pending in at least 21 separate U.S. District Courts. They allege complications caused by C.R. Bard’s mesh products, including Bard Ventralex, Bard Perfix, Bard Composix, and similar hernia mesh products made of polypropylene materials. The counsel representing these plaintiffs before the JPML filed a response in support of the move to centralize the lawsuits.

The response noted that it was likely there would be thousands of lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard in the months and years to come, and that a centralization of the litigation into an MDL would streamline the litigation. However, the attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that the MDL should not include litigation filed with regard to the defendant’s Kugel hernia patch, which had been previously recalled.

C.R. Bard’s response to the possible centralization

Back in May, C.R. Bard and its Davol subsidiary had filed its own response to the possibility of centralizing the lawsuits. The defendants’ counsel stated that they would support a consolidation, but with one condition: The MDL must include the previously recalled Kugel hernia patch, along with all other lawsuits involving their polypropylene mesh products.

The basics of multidistrict litigation proceedings

If the JPML decides to consolidate the federal lawsuits, the panel will assign a U.S. District Court and judge to preside over the MDL. Every lawsuit within the MDL will progress through coordinated pretrial discovery. Both sides will be required to provide requested documentation, and witnesses will be deposed.

Once pretrial proceedings are concluded, the judge will schedule a series of bellwether trials. These initial trials are used to assess how juries react to evidence and testimony. Typically, there is a strong effort to reach settlement agreements with the rest of the pending lawsuits in the MDL. If any lawsuits aren’t settled, they are remanded back to their home districts for trials. All plaintiffs attached to the MDL retain their right to an individual trial by jury.

Overview of the hernia mesh lawsuit allegations

Surgical mesh is used to add support to an internal structure that is bulging or protruding out of place, such as a hernia. The plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against C.R. Bard allege that the mesh is defective and unreasonably dangerous, and that they were not given adequate warnings of the risks. Specifically, patients who received the mesh have been diagnosed with mesh migration, infections, adhesions, and other injuries. Some of them have developed recurring hernias, and some have required revision surgery.

Additional resources:

  1. Food and Drug Administration, Hernia Surgical Mesh Implants,
  2. National Institutes of Health, Past, Present and Future of Surgical Meshes: A Review,