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With a growing number of Ethicon Physiomesh cases being filed throughout the federal court, each involving allegations that the recalled hernia mesh caused painful complications and revision surgery, a request has been filed in the federal court system to centralize all cases before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
In a motion to transfer (PDF) filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on March 9, a group of plaintiffs have requested that all lawsuits over the recalled Ethicon Physiomesh be transferred from U.S. District Courts nationwide to the Middle District of Florida, where they can be coordinated to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid contradictory pretrial rulings from different judges, and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.
Ethicon Physiomesh is a type of hernia patch introduced in March 2010, which has been widely used during hernia repair surgery in recent years. However, the product has been plagued by reports of complications, including adhesions, perforations, infections, mesh erosion and the need for hernia revision surgery.
After failing to identify the cause of these hernia repair problems, the manufacturer decided to remove the product from the market worldwide in May 2016. The Ethicon hernia mesh recall was classified as a “market withdrawal” in the United States, but all hospitals were asked to return unused implants and the manufacturer does not intend to return the product to the market.
“Physiomesh has a unique design incorporating five (5) distinct layers: two layers of polyglecaprone-25 (‘Monocryl’) film covering two underlying layers of polydioxanone film (‘PDS’), which in turn coat a polypropylene mesh. This design has never been used in any other hernia repair product sold anywhere in the world,” the motion states. “The multi-layer coating was represented and promoted by the Defendants to prevent or minimize adhesion and inflammation and to facilitate incorporation and fixation of the mesh into the abdomen. However, Plaintiffs intend to demonstrate that the multi-layer coating instead prevented adequate incorporation of the mesh and caused or contributed to a variety of serious complications.”
The motion indicates that there are currently at least 18 product liability lawsuits pending in nine separate federal district courts, all involving claims that problems with the Ethicon Physiomesh resulted in recurring hernias, infections, adhesions and the need for revision surgery. However, as hernia mesh lawyers continue to review and file cases in the coming months and years, the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to increase.
The motion notes that six of the cases have been filed in the Middle District of Florida; the most of any one district.
Over the coming months and years, as hernia repair lawyers continue to investigate and file cases for individuals nationwide who have experienced problems after receiving Ethicon Physiomesh, which often result in the need for revision surgery to remove the hernia patch, the size of the litigation is expected to grow dramatically.