Hernia Mesh Lawyers To Meet With Judge In Advance of Second Bard “Bellwether” Trial Set To Begin Jan 2022

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal hernia mesh lawsuits filed over problems with products sold by C.R. Bard will meet with lawyers next month, as the parties make final preparations for a second “bellwether” trial scheduled to begin early next year.

C.R. Bard currently faces more than 8,000 product liability lawsuits brought throughout the federal court system involving design problems with various polypropylene mesh products sold in recent decades, including Bard Ventralex, Bard Ventralight, Bard Perfix, Bard 3DMax and other mesh systems that each feature similar designs.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the federal litigation is centralized before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated discovery and a series of early “bellwether” trials, which are intended to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout large numbers of claims.

The first bellwether trial ended in a defense verdict earlier this month, with a federal jury determining Bard was not liable for the injuries of the recipient of a Bard Ventralight ST mesh, who claimed the mesh’s design led to serious injuries and complications.

The next bellwether test case is currently scheduled to begin on January 10, 2022, involving a complaint filed by Antonio Milanesi and Alicia Morz De Milanesi, of Florida.

According to the complaint (PDF), originally filed in October 2018, Antonio Milanesi was implanted with a Ventralex Hernia Patch in July 2007 during umbilical hernia surgery. However, in May 2017, Milanesi underwent additional surgery to have the mesh removed due to infection and a small bowel fistula. The lawsuit indicates the mesh adhered to a loop of the small bowel, leading to erosion and the need for a small bowel resection, anastomosis, removal of the mesh and repair of the ventral hernia, leaving Milanesi with permanent and severe injuries.

In a notice (PDF) issued by the Court on September 22, Judge Sargus scheduled a case management conference for the upcoming trial for October 13. The hearing will be held via GoToMeeting video conference due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Court indicates it will outline specific deadlines in advance of that trial over the coming weeks.

Unless Bard is able to establish that it can consistently defend the safety of its products before juries or reaches agreements to settle hernia mesh cases following the bellwether trials, Judge Sargus may begin remanding hundreds of individual cases to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates in the coming year.

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