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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all Bard hernia mesh lawsuits has scheduled the first bellwether trial to begin on May 11, 2020, which will be closely watched to gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout thousands of claims brought nationwide.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in product liability complaints filed against C.R. Bard throughout the federal court system, there are currently more than 4,500 claims centralized before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.
Plaintiffs each allege that they were left with painful and debilitating complications after hernia repair involving Bard Ventralex, Bard Perfix, Bard Composix and other polypropylene mesh products sold in recent years.
As part of the coordinated discovery and management of the Bard hernia mesh litigation, Judge Sargus has previously established a bellwether trial process, which will result in a series of three representative claims going before juries next year to help the parties evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their positions, and facilitate potential settlement negotiations.
In an order (PDF) issued on December 12, Judge Sargus set the first Bard hernia mesh trial date for May 11, 2020, which is expected to be followed by additional trials in July and September 2020.
Leading up to the first bellwether trial, the parties will meet for two final pretrial conferences, including one that will be held on April 27 and a second two-day conference set for May 4-5. At those conferences, the court will resolve objections to exhibits and deposition designations, and establish rule on any pretrial motions.
While the outcome of the early trial dates will not be binding on other claims pending against Bard, they will be closely watched by the parties and may influence potential hernia mesh settlements that may avoid the need for thousands of individual claims to be set for trial in U.S. District Courts nationwide.
In addition to cases against Bard, similar allegations have also been raised in thousands of Atrium C-Qur lawsuits and Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits, which involve competing hernia repair products that have also been linked to design problems that resulted in a high rate of failure.
Since most individuals are unaware of what type of product was used during a hernia repair, and mesh implanted in recent years continues to fail, it is widely expected that the size of the litigation will continue to grow over the next year.