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By the time the first federal bellwether trial goes before a jury in May 2020, it is expected that more than 6,000 hernia mesh lawsuits may be pending against C.R. Bard, over design problem with polypropylene mesh products implanted during hernia repair procedures in recent years.
According to court records, there are currently about 4,533 product liability complaints pending in the federal court system, each raising similar allegations that plaintiffs experienced painful and debilitating complications due to design problems with Bard Ventralex, Bard Perfix, Bard Composix and other hernia mesh products.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the lawsuits, the federal litigation is centralized before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings, including a series of early bellwether trials, which are set to begin in May, July and September 2020, to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the claims.
According to a pretrial order (PDF) issued on November 21, between 250 to 400 new Bard mesh claims are being filed each month. During a recent status conference, the Plaintiffs Steering Committee estimated there will be around 6,000 total cases by the beginning of the first bellwether trial.
While the outcome of the early trial date will not be binding on other claims, they will be closely watched by the parties and may influence potential hernia mesh settlements the manufacturer may need to pay to resolve the litigation.
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 injury lawyers continue to investigate and pursue claims for individuals who have experienced complications following surgery in recent years.
In addition to cases against Bard, similar allegations have also been raised in Atrium C-Qur lawsuits and Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits, which involve competing hernia repair products that have also been linked to design problems that resulted in a high rate of failure.
Following the bellwether trials next year, if the parties fail to resolve the litigation, Judge Sargus may begin remanding thousands of claims back to U.S. District Courts where they were originally filed for individual trial dates nationwide.