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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal hernia mesh lawsuits involving C.R. Bard products has identified the first three cases that will go before juries, as part of a bellwether trial schedule that will help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will likely be repeated throughout thousands of other claims.
According to recent court filings, Bard currently faces more than 5,000 product liability lawsuits, each involving plaintiffs who suffered painful and debilitating complications following hernia repair procedures where Bard’s Ventralex, Ventralight, Perfix, 3DMax and other patch designs were used. However, as hernia mesh lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming months and years, it is widely expected that the size of the litigation will continue to grow.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, the federal court system has consolidated the Bard hernia mesh cases before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated discovery and a series of early trial dates set to begin in May 2020, July 2020 and September 2020.
While the outcomes of these trial dates will not be binding on other Bard hernia patch cases, they are expected to have a substantial impact on any hernia mesh settlements that Bard may offer to avoid thousands of individual trials being set for trial nationwide.
Earlier this month, plaintiffs and defendants proposed how the first three bellwether trials should be selected, leaving it to the Court to resolve differences on which Bard hernia mesh cases best fit the bellwether trial criteria.
In a case management order (PDF) issued on January 24, Judge Sargus chose the defendants’ selection for the first case, which involves problems with Ventralight ST hernia mesh. For the other two trials, he went with the plaintiffs’ picks. One involving the use of a Ventralex device, and the other involving the use of the PerFix Plug.
The parties had until Monday to object to the selections.
Judge Sargus has also set a February 3 deadline for the filing of dispositive motions and any Daubert motions in regard to the first bellwether trial. Opposition papers to dispositive motions and expert motions are to be filed by February 21 and reply papers to dispositive motions and expert motions are to be filed by February 28. Oral arguments on the dispositive and expert motions will be scheduled in a future order.