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It appears that a settlement has been reached to resolve a bellwether trial involving complications with Atrium C-Qur mesh, which was supposed to begin this month to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout more than 2,500 similar product liability lawsuits involving the product.
The first Atrium C-Qur bellwether trial was expected to begin on July 7, 2021, involving a lawsuit filed by Carrier Barron. However, that case was removed from the trial docket late last month, and the parties indicated in a recent filing that a notice of dismissal will be filed no later than July 28.
In a status conference agenda (PDF) filed on July 1, the parties indicate that they have agreed on two other bellwether cases that will be set for trial in the future, and the parties are conferring about potential trial dates to propose to the Court.
While the outcome of these early bellwether trials will not be binding on other claims in the litigation, they are being closely monitored by those involved in the litigation, and were expected to have a substantial influence on any Atrium hernia mesh settlement negotiations to resolve larger numbers of cases. Terms of any hernia mesh settlement reached in the Barron case, or even the existence of an agreement, have not been disclosed by the parties.
Atrium C-Qur Litigation
Each of the Atrium C-Qur lawsuits in the litigation involve similar allegations over problems caused by the hernia repair mesh. The Atrium C-Qur product features a unique polypropylene patch design with an Omega-3 fatty acid gel coating, which plaintiffs allege was defective and unreasonably dangerous.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, the Atrium C-Qur litigation has been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire since December 2016, where Judge Landya McCafferty has been presiding over coordinate discovery and pretrial proceedings.
Following a series of early bellwether trials that will be held before Judge McCafferty, if the parties fail to reach settlement agreements that resolve large numbers of cases, the Court is expected to start remanding individual claims to U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trial dates.
In addition to claims over Atrium C-Qur patches, similar hernia mesh lawsuits are also being pursued over design defects associated with polyproylene products sold by other companies in recent years, including Bard, Ethicon, Covidien and others.