Information About Covidien Hernia Mesh Complications Provided on Plaintiff Fact Sheets
The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal hernia mesh lawsuits filed over Covidien products has approved the use of a standardized Plaintiff Fact Sheet, which is designed to gather information about the complications experienced by each individual now pursuing a claim against the mesh manufacturer.
Medtronic and its Covidien subsidiary currently hundreds of product liability lawsuits brought in the federal court system, each involving similar allegations that plaintiffs experienced painful complications after receiving defective polypropylene hernia mesh products sold in recent years, including Covidien Parietex, Covidien Symbotex and others.
Plaintiffs report that a defective mesh design caused them to experience severe abdominal pain, infections, organ perforations, erosion and other problems, often resulting in the need for a risky hernia revision surgery to remove the Covidien mesh from their bodies.
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Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided to centralize the Covidien hernia mesh lawsuits in June 2022, transferring all cases to U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris in the District Judge in Massachusetts, for coordinated discovery and a series of early trial dates.
Judge Saris has put a plan in place to select a representative group of Covidien hernia mesh lawsuits to serve as “bellwether” early test trials. While the outcomes of these cases will not be binding on other claims, the trials are designed to see how juries are likely to respond to testimony and evidence which could be presented in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of trials if the litigation is not settled or otherwise resolved during the pretrial proceedings.
In February, Judge Saris announced that six cases, including three chosen by plaintiffs and three by defendants, will serve as the bellwether discovery pool. It is from these cases that the first bellwether trials will be selected.
On April 3, Judge Saris issued a case management order (PDF) calling for each bellwether pool claimant to complete a Plaintiff Fact Sheet (PFS), which are commonly used in complex mass tort litigation where large numbers of individuals are pursuing claims against the makers of the same product, involving similar injuries or claims.
The Fact Sheet will gather case-specific information about the Covidien hernia mesh complications experienced by each plaintiff, including the specific products received, treatment dates and relevant background information needed to complete written discovery.
The order indicates the PFS’s were due on April 1, and any new plaintiffs added to the bellwether pool after that date will have 45 days to complete and submit their own Plaintiff Fact Sheet.
Over the coming months, the parties will engage in additional fact discovery, including depositions of plaintiffs, treating physician and other relevant witnesses that may testify at trial. The bellwether process will then move into the expert discovery phase, including any challenges to the admissibility of expert opinion testimony before the first cases are presented to a jury.
April 2023 Covidien Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Update
Thousands of Covidien hernia mesh lawsuits have been filed over problems with Symbotex mesh, Parietex mesh and other similar products constructed of polypropylene, each involving similar allegations that the designs were defective and resulted in painful complications.
Most of the U.S. litigation is currently pending in the state court system of Massachusetts, where Covidien’s U.S. headquarters are located.
At least three other hernia mesh MDLs were previously established for claims involving other polyethylene products sold by different companies, with more than 15,400 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits centralized in the Southern District of Ohio, another 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. Many of those claims settled before the first claims ever went before a jury.
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