Atrium Medical Opposes MDL for ProLoop and ProLite Hernia Mesh Lawsuits

Although similar allegations of problems with Atrium ProLoop and ProLite mesh have been presented in lawsuits filed in federal courts, manufacturer maintains formal coordination is not necessary

Nearly identical allegations have been raised in a number of hernia mesh lawsuits filed against Atrium Medical over ProLoop and ProLite products throughout the federal court system. However, the manufacturer is opposing an effort to centralize the cases before one judge as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, maintaining that pretrial proceedings in the cases are progressing fine on their own.

Atrium ProLoop and ProLite are types of polypropylene mesh that have been widely used in recent years for surgical hernia repairs. However, the lawsuits allege the products were defectively designed and that Atrium Medical failed to adequately test the hernia mesh, which has resulted in high failure rates, frequent complications and revision surgeries among patients.

Last month, a group of 15 plaintiffs filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), seeking to establish an Atrium ProLoop and ProLite MDL in the federal court system, to coordinate the cases before one judge to reduce duplicative discovery, inconsistent pretrial rulings and a waste of judicial resources.

However, on January 4, Atrium Medical Corporation and Maquet Cardiovascular, LLC filed a response (PDF), urging the MDL panel to reject that proposal, and allow the litigation to proceed in various different U.S. District Courts without any formal coordination effort.

The U.S. JPML has already established hernia mesh MDLs for claims involving a number of different polypropylene mesh products sold by different manufacturers in recent years, including Bard mesh lawsuitsEthicon Physiomesh lawsuits and Atrium C-Qur lawsuits.

Plaintiffs pointed out that each of the lawsuits over Atrium ProLite and ProLoop mesh raise nearly identical allegations, and will involve many common witnesses, indicating that all parties will benefit from establishing coordinated pretrial proceedings before one judge.

In its response, Atrium Medical argues that at least one case involving these mesh products has already gone through a jury trial, which resulted in a defense verdict in October, and a second case is close to finishing expert discovery.

“The procedural history of the federal ProLite and ProLoop cases shows that formal coordination is unnecessary,” the response brief claims. “Indeed, most of the moving Plaintiffs are already in coordinated proceedings and represented by the same counsel.”

Oral arguments on the motion are likely to be considered during an upcoming hearing scheduled for March 31.

Atrium and Maquet maintain that if consolidation is deemed appropriate by the JPML, then the cases should be consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois under Judge Mary Rowland, who has already overseen one ProLite hernia mesh trial.

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