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The U.S. District judge presiding over all federal hernia mesh lawsuits involving products manufactured by C.R. Bard will hold a “Case Information Session” later this week, at which time the parties will make non-adversarial presentations to the Court about the problems with polypropylene mesh involved in a recently established multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Several hundred product liability lawsuits have been filed throughout the federal court system over problems with Bard Ventralex, Bard Perfix, Bard Composix and other polypropylene products sold by C.R. Bard in recent years, each raising similar allegations that design defects make the mesh prone to fail and cause patients to require risky surgery to remove the mesh from their body.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation established consolidated pretrial proceedings for the Bard hernia mesh cases last month, centralizing cases filed nationwide before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated discovery and management.
As lawyers continue to review and file potential cases for individuals who have experienced Bard hernia mesh problems, the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to grow, with many estimates suggesting that several thousand lawsuits will ultimately be centralized in the MDL.
On October 3, Judge Sargus issued a pretrial order (PDF) announcing that the Court will host a case information session on October 10. The goal of the session is to “provide the Court with case historical and medical information to familiarize the Court, in a broad sense, with the preliminary background of pertinent issues in this case.”
The order notes that, very similar to a what is often known as a “science day” in large-scale litigation, the parties have agreed that the information will be presented in a non-adversarial manner. No witnesses or experts will be called, and the format will be a lecture-style presentation.
In complex medical device litigation, where large numbers of claims are being presented involving similar injuries associated with the same types of products, it is common for the Court to schedule such scientific presentations prior to ruling on discovery disputes, admissibility of evidence and other issues.
As part of the pretrial proceedings, it is expected that Judge Sargus will establish a bellwether process, where a small group of Bard hernia mesh cases will be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.
Similar consolidated pretrial proceedings have also been established for Atrium C-Qur lawsuits and Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits, which involve competing hernia repair products that have also been linked to a high rate of failure and problems.
Following coordinated pretrial proceedings in the MDL, if hernia mesh settlements or another resolution for the cases are not reached, thousands of individual lawsuits may ultimately be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for an individual trial date nationwide.