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The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hear oral arguments in July, over whether to centralize all hernia mesh lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard and it’s Davol subsidiary before one federal judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
There are currently several dozen product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system over problems with Bard Ventralex, Bard Perfix, Bard Composix and other polypropylene hernia mesh products sold in recent years, and it is widely expected that several hundred, if not thousands, of additional cases will be filed in the coming months and years.
Each of the complaints raise similar allegations that the design of the mesh products were unreasonably dangerous and defective, making them prone to fail and result in the need for risky revision surgery within a few years after the original hernia repair.
On April 10, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion to centralize the Bard hernia mesh lawsuits before a single judge in the Southern District of Ohio, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
In complex product liability litigation where similar questions of fact and law are raised in complaints filed in various different U.S. District Courts, it is common for the JPML to transfer the cases to one judge for coordinated discovery into common issues, to avoid conflicting pretrial schedules from different courts and to serve the convenience of common witnesses, parties and the judicial system.
C.R. Bard and Davol indicated last month that it supports centralization of the hernia mesh cases, so long as any MDL includes all lawsuits over their polypropylene mesh products, including the previously recalled Kugel hernia patch, which plaintiffs argued should be excluded from this new MDL.
In a hearing order (PDF) issued June 15, the JPML announced it will hear oral arguments over consolidation of the lawsuits on July 26 at the Santiago E. Campos U.S. Courthouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Hernia Mesh Litigation
In addition to Bard lawsuits, similar polypropylene hernia patch 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 760 Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits and 471 Atrium C-Qur lawsuits pending in the federal court system, where they have been centralized before two separate judges for coordinated discovery.