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Centralization Sought for Bard Polypropylene Hernia Mesh Lawsuits

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A request has been filed to consolidate all federal polypropylene hernia mesh lawsuits against C.R. Bard, indicating that the growing number of cases being pursued by individuals who experienced painful and debilitating complications justifies the centralized management before one U.S. District Judge.

Bard currently faces at least 60 product liability lawsuits pending in various different U.S. District Courts nationwide, each raising similar allegations that polypropylene used in hernia mesh was unreasonably dangerous and defective, making the products prone to fail and result in the need for individuals to undergo hernia revision surgery.

As hernia mesh injury lawyers continue to investigate and file claims over the coming months and years, it is widely expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of additional cases will be brought nationwide.

On April 10, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion to transfer (PDF) with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on April 10, seeking to centralize all Bard Ventralex and Bard Perfix hernia mesh lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the process is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the witnesses, the parties and the courts.

“The lawsuits filed against Defendants all share one common denominator: the products at issue are all made of synthetic polypropylene,” the motion states. “A second trait shared by many of the products in these cases is a design modification intended to separate the polypropylene base material from the patients’ internal organs.”

Hernia Mesh Litigation

In addition to Bard hernia mesh lawsuits, similar polypropylene hernia mesh cases are being pursued over problems with the Atrium C-Qur patch and Ethicon Physiomesh, which have already been centralized as part of two separate multidistrict litigations (MDLs).

The Atrium C-Qur, pronounced “Secure”, was approved by the FDA in March 2006, featuring a polypropylene mesh with an outer coating of gel made from 3 fatty acids. However, this design has been linked to reports of severe infections, allergic reactions and other problems.

Ethicon Physiomesh was introduced in March 2010, featuring a unique, multilayered design that was intended to improve performance. However, amid a high number of failures, an Ethicon Physiomesh recall was issued in May 2016, removing the product from the market worldwide. While the action was classified as a “market withdrawal” in the United States, the manufacturer has indicated that it will not be returning the product to the market.

There are currently about 680 Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits and 30 Atrium C-Qur lawsuits pending in the federal court system, where they have been centralized before two separate judges for coordinated discovery.

The U.S. JPML is expected to schedule oral arguments for the motion to consolidate the Bard polypropylene hernia mesh litigation during an upcoming hearing set for either May 31 in Chicago or July 26 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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