JPML To Consider MDL for Atrium Prolite, Proloop Mesh Lawsuits at Hearing March 31

Plaintiffs have asked the panel to consolidate the hernia mesh lawsuits in a central California federal court for pretrial proceedings.

As a growing number of hernia mesh lawsuits continue to be filed throughout the federal court system by individuals who received Atrium Prolite or Atrium Proloop repair products, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has agreed to hear oral arguments next month to consider whether the litigation should be consolidated before one judge for pretrial proceedings.

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 by Atrium Medical, and that the manufacturer failed to adequately test the hernia mesh, which has resulted in high failure rates, frequent complications and revision surgeries among patients.

In December, a group of 15 plaintiffs filed a motion to establish an Atrium ProLoop and ProLite MDL (Multidistrict Litigation), which would transfer cases pending in U.S. District Courts nationwide to one judge for coordinated management to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues in the claims, avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings and a waste of judicial resources.

Last month, Atrium Medical Corporation and Maquet Cardiovascular, LLC filed a response, urging the MDL panel to reject that proposal, indicating that the hernia mesh litigation should proceed in various different U.S. District Courts without any formal coordination effort.

In a hearing session order (PDF) issued this week, the JPML announced it will consider oral arguments over whether it should consolidate lawsuits pending in at least four different federal courts on March 31, 2022, at the Hale Boggs Federal Building Courthouse in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Such consolidation is common in complex medical device litigation, where a large number of claims have been presented by former recipients of the same medical device or implant, alleging similar injuries.

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 say 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, suggesting that the litigation be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Atrium Medical has maintained that consolidation is not necessary, pointing out that at least one hernia mesh lawsuit has already reached trial, resulting in a defense verdict in October, and a second case is close to finishing expert discovery. However, if the U.S. JPML decides that an Atrium Prolite and Proloop mesh MDL is appropriate, then the manufacturer indicates 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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