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Due to the nationwide impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. District Judge presiding over all hernia mesh lawsuits involving C.R. Bard products has pushed back the start dates for the first two bellwether jury trials, which were previously expected to begin in May 2020 and July 2020.
Bard currently faces more than 3,500 product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, each involving plaintiffs who suffered painful and debilitating complications following hernia repair procedures where Bard’s Ventralex, Ventralight, Perfix, 3DMax and other patch designs were used. However, as hernia mesh lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming months and years, it is widely expected that the size of the litigation will continue to grow.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the federal judiciary has consolidated the Bard hernia mesh litigation before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated discovery and a series of early trial dates that are designed to help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their claims, as well as how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the lawsuits.
In January 2020, Judge Sargus identified specific plaintiffs that were selected for the first Bard hernia mesh jury trials, which were expected to begin in May 2020, July 2020 and September 2020. However, as jury trials nationwide are being postponed, the Court has issued a series of orders that push back the start of the first two cases until July 2020 and September 2020.
In one case management order (PDF) issued on Tuesday, the start of the first bellwether trial was pushed back to July 13, 2020, with a final pretrial conference scheduled for June 29 and the final pretrial conferences on July 7 and July 8.
In another case management order (PDF), Judge Sargus pushed back the second trial to September 29, with the first final pretrial conference to be held on September 9, and the final pretrial conferences scheduled for September 15 and 16. Dispositive and Daubert motions in the case are to be filed by June 8.
While the outcomes of these trial dates will not be binding on other Bard hernia patch cases, they are expected to have a substantial impact on any hernia mesh settlements that Bard may offer to avoid thousands of individual trials being set for trial nationwide.