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With thousands of hernia mesh lawsuits moving forward in the federal court system over products manufactured and sold by C.R. Bard, the manufacturer has proposed that representative claims involving problems with the Bard Ventralight ST and Bard Ventralex mesh be the first to go before a jury later this year.
While similar allegations have been raised in nearly 3,500 product liability lawsuits filed against C.R Bard pending in the federal court system, each involving plaintiffs who suffered painful and debilitating complications after a hernia repair, but various different polypropylene mesh products are involved in the cases, including Ventralex, Ventralight, PerFix, 3DMax and other devices.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the federal litigation is currently centralized before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated discovery and a a series of early trial dates, which are scheduled to begin on May 11, 2020, July 13, 2020, and September 14, 2020.
While the outcomes of these trial dates will not be binding on other claims in the litigation, they are intended to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. The jury findings may influence any hernia mesh settlements that Bard may attempt to reach to avoid thousands of individual trials being scheduled nationwide.
In a brief (PDF) submitted on January 13, attorneys for C.R. Bard and its Davol, Inc. subsidiary identified three cases they propose should be the first to go to trial.
Bard has proposed two alternative cases for the first trial date, each involving plaintiffs who experienced problems with Ventralight ST mesh, indicating that plaintiffs also picked the same case. The parties also agreed on two alternative case selections that Bard proposes for the second trial date, which would involve a plaintiff who experienced problems with Bard Ventralex.
For the last trial date, the parties have proposed cases involving different hernia repair products, 3DMax and PerFix Plug, although both used in abdominal hernia repairs.
According to Bard’s proposal, the manufacturer has recommended prioritizing the order of trial based on the devices that represent a more significant part of the cases involved in the litigation as a whole, suggesting that starting with Ventralight ST, and then Ventralex, will maximize the opportunity to use this process to determine potential settlement values.
“Of the devices that have been agreed upon for consideration, Ventralight ST and Ventralex have the largest inventory in the MDL, making up approximately 12% and 13.5%, respectively,” the brief notes. “Although there is no meaningful difference between the percentages of Ventralight ST cases and Ventralex cases in the MDL inventory as a whole, and although the same is true for cases involving absorbable barriers vs. permanent barrier cases, Bard proposes a Ventralight ST case for the first trial because there has never been a trial involving the Ventralight ST device. The same cannot be said for the Ventralex, because two cases involving that device are set for trial in the upcoming months in the Rhode Island state court litigation.”
In addition to claims involving Bard mesh, similar allegations have also been presented in other lawsuits over hernia complications associated with polypropylene products sold by other manufacturers in recent years, including Atrium C-Qur, Ethicon Physiomesh and Ethicon Prolene hernia mesh.