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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Bard hernia mesh lawsuits has identified four “bellwether” cases which will go before juries, starting with trials scheduled to begin on August 2, 2021 and January 10, 2022.
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.
Following a series of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge Sargus issued an order earlier this year scheduling the first Bard bellwether trial to begin this summer, involving a case alleging problems with Ventralight ST mesh. According to a Pretrial and Trial Schedule (PDF) issued on June 10, the parties will meet for a series of two pretrial conferences on July 19 and July 21, to resolve any objections to deposition designations and exhibits. The trial will then commence on August 2, 2021 at 9am.
In a separate order (PDF) issued on June 10, Judge Sargus also indicated a second bellwether trial will begin on January 10, 2021, involving complications with Bard Ventralex patch. The Court indicates that the court will outline specific deadlines in advance of that trial over the coming weeks.
While specific trial dates have not yet been scheduled for the third and fourth bellwether trials, Judge Sargus did identify the cases selected to go before juries in another case management order (PDF) issued on June 10, including one Bard Perfix Plug lawsuit and one Bard 3D Max patch lawsuit.
Although the outcomes of these early trial dates will not have any binding impact on other claims pending against the manufacturer, they are being closely watched by lawyers involved in the litigation and are expected to heavily influence the amount of any hernia mesh settlements Bard may offer in the coming months to avoid hundreds of individual cases being scheduled for trial in U.S. District Courts nationwide.