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More Than 4,000 Bard Hernia Mesh Cases Pending in Federal MDL

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With a growing number of individuals filing hernia mesh lawsuits over problems with various products manufactured and sold by C.R. Bard in recent years, there are now more than 4,000 claims pending throughout the federal court system, and about 400 new Bard hernia mesh cases are being filed each month, according to recent court records.

In March 2019, there were only a few hundred product liability claims filed against C.R. Bard in the federal court system, each raising similar allegations that plaintiffs suffered painful and debilitating complications caused by design problems with Bard Ventralex, Bard Perfix, Bard Composix and other polypropylene products sold in recent years.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints brought in U.S. District Courts nationwide, the federal litigation was centralized before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings, as part of an MDL or multidistrict litigation.

Earlier this year, lawyers involved in the litigation estimated that roughly 3,000 Bard hernia mesh cases may be filed in the federal MDL by the end of 2019. However, according to a pretrial order (PDF) issued on October 4, there are currently at least 4,069 cases pending before Judge Sargus, and the size of the litigation continues to grow at a much quicker rate than originally predicted.

During a case status conference held on October 1, the Plaintiffs Steering Committee estimated that the current pace of filing new claim is roughly 400 cases per month.

In addition to claims pending in the federal court system, Bard also faces several thousand hernia mesh claims that are pending in the state court of Rhode Island, where the manufacturer’s U.S. headquarters are located.

Since most individuals are unaware of what type of product was used during a hernia repair, the size of the litigation is expected to continue to grow as hernia mesh lawyers continue to investigate and pursue claims for individuals who have experienced painful and debilitating complications following surgery in recent years.

In addition to cases against Bard, similar allegations involving design defects have been raised in Atrium C-Qur lawsuits and Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits, which involve competing hernia repair products that have also been linked to a high rate of failure and problems.

For the Bard hernia mesh cases, to help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their claims, Judge Sargus has established a “bellwether” process, where a small group of representative lawsuits are being prepared for a series of early trial dates that are expected to begin between May and September 2020.

During the recent case management conference, Judge Sargus indicated that the Court will select the first three cases that will go before juries on February 14, 2020.

While the outcomes of these “test” trials will not be binding on other claims, they may help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of cases, and facilitate hernia mesh settlements with Bard and other manufacturers, which would avoid the need for hundreds of individual cases to be scheduled for trial over the coming years.

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