Covidien Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Centralized in Massachusetts District Court

The JPML has decided there are now enough Covidien hernia mesh lawsuits filed in courts nationwide to justify consolidation as part of an MDL.

Following a hearing last month, a panel of federal judges has agreed to centralize and consolidate all Covidien hernia mesh lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, after finding that the size and scope of the litigation has changed since a similar request was rejected two years ago.

There are currently at least 73 product liability lawsuits filed against Medtronic and it’s Covidien subsidiary, which are spread across seven different federal district courts. Due to recent developments in the cases, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has now decided the claims should all be centralized before one U.S. District Judge in Massachusetts, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Each of the Covidien lawsuits raise similar allegations, indicating individuals suffered painful and debilitating complications from certain polypropylene products sold by the company in recent years, including Covidien Parietex, Covidien Symbotex and others. However, as hernia mesh lawyers continue to investigate and file claims in the coming months, it is expected that the size of the litigation will increase rapidly.

The U.S. JPML previously rejected a request to establish a Covidien Mesh MDL in June 2020, finding there were too few cases pending at that time to justify formal pretrial proceedings in the federal court system. However, after the company failed to reach acceptable hernia mesh settlements with thousands of individuals who agreed to hold off on filing a lawsuit during negotiating, complaints are now being filed in state and federal courts nationwide at a rapid rate.

In February, Covidien filed a renewed motion with the U.S. JPML, calling for consolidation of hernia mesh cases, and a hearing was held on May 26, 2022 to consider oral arguments by the manufacturer and various plaintiffs, who largely all supported centralizing the cases at this time to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and improve efficiencies in the litigation.

In an order (PDF) issued on June 6, the JPML indicated that all current and future Covidien hernia mesh lawsuits brought throughout the federal court system will be centralized before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris in the District of Massachusetts.

“We are persuaded that these changed circumstances—the significantly larger number of actions, the credible prospect of additional actions, the increase in number of counsel (though small), the concomitant increase in burden on party and judicial resources, and the increased need for federal-state coordination—coupled with significant plaintiff support for centralization, tip the balance in favor of creating an MDL,” the panel concluded.

Such centralization is common in complex product liability litigation, where a large number of claims are filed throughout the federal court system by individuals who suffered similar injuries as a result of the same or similar products.

As part of the coordinated management of the litigation, it is expected that Judge Saris will establish a “bellwether” process, where a small group of representative cases will be prepared for early trial dates to help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their claims, and promote further settlement negotiations.

At least three other hernia mesh MDLs are already established for claims involving other polyethylene products sold by other companies, with more than 15,400 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits centralized in the Southern District of Ohio, 3,600 Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits centralized in the Northern District of Georgia and 3,251 Atrium C-Qur lawsuits centralized in the District of New Hampshire.

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1 Comments

  • MichaelJuly 14, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    I have Meditronic mesh in me I'm glad that they are finally taking these Companies to Court

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