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Atrium C-Qur Hernia Mesh Cases Selected for Initial Bellwether Trial Pool

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With hundreds of Atrium C-Qur lawsuits pending in the federal court system, each involving similar allegations that individual suffered painful complications from the hernia mesh, a group of 16 cases have been selected for an initial discovery pool, which will be eligible for early trial dates in the litigation.

Atrium C-Qur (pronounced “secure”) was a widely used hernia repair product, which was introduced in March 2006, featuring a unique design that involved a polypropylene mesh with an Omega-3 fatty acid (O3FA) gel coating. While this was designed to reduce scar tissue formation, while promoting fixation of the mesh to the abdominal wall, the C-Qur patch has been linked to a large number of reported problems, including inflammatory responses, bowel adhesions and other painful complications.

Nearly 500 product liability complaints have been filed in the federal court system over problems with Atrium C-Qur mesh, claiming that the manufacturer sold an unreasonably dangerous and defective hernia repair system, which often results in the need for additional complex procedures to remove the patch months or even years after it is implanted.

Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established consolidated pretrial proceedings for all Atrium C-Qur hernia mesh cases in December 2016, centralizing all claims before U.S. District Judge Landya McCafferty in the District of New Hampshire to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.

In a joint notice (PDF) filed on August 9, plaintiffs and defendants identified a group of 16 cases that have been selected for the initial bellwether pool. This group will subsequently be narrowed down to a smaller group of representative cases, which will be eligible for the first Atrium C-Qur trial date, scheduled to begin in February 2020.

Following initial discovery in these cases, the group will be pared down to eight claims by March 1, 2019, with Plaintiffs selecting four and Defendants selecting four, which will continue with case-specific discovery and expert discovery, which is to be completed by September 20, 2019. Daubert motions on challenges to the admissibility of expert testimony will be filed by October 18, 2019, and responses are due by November 1, 2019, according to the order, which indicates that the first “bellwether” trial will begin on February 19, 2020.

As part of the coordinated MDL proceedings before Judge McCafferty, the parties are scheduled to meet for a status conference on Thursday. According to joint agenda (PDF) submitted late last week, the parties also intend to address with the court a recently filed motion to extend jurisdictional discovery and briefing deadlines.

While the outcomes of these “bellwether” trials will not be binding on other claims, the process is designed to facilitate potential hernia mesh settlements that may be necessary to avoid the need for hundreds of individual trials in various U.S. District Courts nationwide following the coordinated MDL proceedings.

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