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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Bard hernia mesh lawsuits indicates there will likely be at least 10,000 claims brought in the multidistrict litigation (MDL), before the first “bellwether” case goes before a jury in January 2021.
C.R. Bard currently faces more than 8,000 product liability claims filed throughout the federal court system, each involving similar claims that defective polypropylene mesh products were sold in recent years, including Bard Ventralex, Bard Ventralight, Bard Perfix, Bard 3DMax and other hernia patch products.
Plaintiffs allege design problems caused them to experience severe abdominal pain, infections, adhesions, erosion and other complications, often resulting in the need for additional surgery to remove the failed hernia mesh.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the federal litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated discovery and a series of early trial dates designed to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims.
Although the first trial date was originally expected to begin in May 2020, that case has been delayed due to interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the number of new cases filed throughout the federal court system continues to grow.
According to a pretrial order (PDF) issued on August 14, the Court now expects that the number of filed cases will reach about 10,000 by year’s end.
Judge Sargus indicated the first bellwether trial is currently scheduled to begin on January 11, 2021, but that date may be rescheduled, since the Court has another case set to begin in February 2021 which may impact the ability to start the bellwether trial as planned.
The first Bard hernia mesh case to go to before a jury will involve a complaint filed by Steven Johns, who experienced complications with Bard Ventralight ST mesh, which is a type of polypropylene patch involved in a large number of other claims pending in the litigation.
While the outcomes of this jury trial dates will not be binding on other Bard cases, it is expected to have a substantial impact on any hernia patch settlements Bard may offer to avoid the need for thousands of individual trials to be set for trial nationwide in the coming months and years.