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A lawsuit recently filed in the Texas state court system over problems with Bard Sepra mesh and Covidien ProTacks has been removed to the federal court system, where it is may be consolidated with hundreds of other hernia mesh lawsuits pending against C.R. Bard over dangerous design defects associated with various products sold in recent years.
The complaint was originally brought by Maurice and Juliet Goudeau in the 234th Judicial District Court of Harris County in Texas in January, naming C.R. Bard, Inc., Davol, Inc. and Covidien, LP as the defendants. However, Bard and Davol filed a notice of removal (PDF) recently, transferring the case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
According to the lawsuit, Maurice Goudeau experienced complications after Bard Sepra mesh was implanted during a laparoscopic incisional hernia repair in October 2008, which was secured in place by ProTacks made by Covidien. However, in March 2017, he began suffering severe abdominal pain because the mesh and ProTacks had separated from his abdominal wall.
“Further, the Sepra Mesh had split into several pieces and portions of the separated Sepra Mesh had adhered to Mr. Goudeau’s intestinal walls,” the complaint states. “To repair the damage caused by the failure of the Bard Mesh and Covidien ProTacks, Mr. Goudeau underwent surgery. At that time, 18 inches of Plaintiff’s small intestine had to be removed due to the damage caused by the separated Sepra Mesh and the ProTack’s. Additionally, portions of the Sepra Mesh and ProTacks were removed from Mr. Goudeau’s intestines.”
The case comes as C.R. Bard faces more than 200 product liability lawsuits involving design problems with various different hernia repair products sold in recent years, including Bard Sepramesh, Ventralex, PreFix plug, Composix and other polypropylene products that have been linked to a high failure rate in recent years.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, all federal Bard hernia mesh cases have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. However, the involvement of the Covidien ProTacks in Goudeau’s Bard Sepra mesh failure, the court will determine whether this case is also consolidated with the other claims.
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. The first bellwether trial dates in each of these other MDLs are expected to begin in early 2020.
While the outcomes of these “test” trials will not be binding on other claims, they may help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of cases, and facilitate hernia mesh settlements with Bard and other manufacturers, which would avoid the need for hundreds of individual cases to be scheduled for trial over the coming years.