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MDL Panel to Review Ethicon Physiomesh Lawsuits During Hearing May 25

  • Written by: Austin Kirk
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As a growing number of hernia mesh lawsuits continue to be filed on behalf of individuals who experienced problems with Ethicon’s recalled Physiomesh products, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has scheduled oral arguments for May 25, to consider whether to centralize and consolidate the litigation before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

Ethicon Physiomesh is a type of surgical patch introduced in March 2010, which has been widely used during hernia procedures in recent years. However, after the product was plagued by reports of adhesions, perforations, infections, mesh erosion and other hernia repair complications, the manufacturer announced that it was removing the product from the market worldwide last year.

Dozens of Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits are currently pending in different U.S. District Courts nationwide, each raising similar allegations that the hernia repair patch is unreasonably dangerous and defective, causing individuals to suffer painful and debilitating complications, often resulting in the need for revision surgery to remove the polypropylene mesh from the body. However, as hernia mesh lawyers continue to review and file cases over the coming months, it is widely expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of claims will be presented nationwide.

Given the similar questions of fact and law presented, a group of plaintiffs filed a request earlier this year to establish a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) for the Ethicon Physiomesh cases, seeking to transfer all claims for coordinated discovery and litigation.

Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary has opposed the request, arguing that each of the claims will be too individualized to justify coordinated proceedings. However, Plaintiffs have pointed out that case-specific fact issues are present in any MDL, yet the panel has consistently found that MDL transfer promotes efficiency, economy and convenience in light of similar claims related to the same or related products.

“These cases allege similar design defect and inadequate warning claims against the same related corporate defendants involving a single medical device,” according to a brief in support (PDF) filed by plaintiffs on April 20. “The facts necessary to develop and prove liability will necessarily be similar, if not the same, in every constituent case.”

According to a hearing session order (PDF) issued by the JPML, oral arguments on the motion will be considered on May 25, at the John H. Wood, Jr. U.S. Courthouse in San Antonio, Texas.

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1 comment

  1. tommie Reply

    It appears Negligence is prevalent in this case. Joint and Several Liability shoulb applied to The Manufacturer and Physicians

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