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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all Bard hernia mesh lawsuits has outlined the pretrial and trial schedule for the first bellwether case, which is expected to go before a federal jury on September 29.
Bard currently faces more than 6,800 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 the size of the litigation will continue to grow.
According to recent court records, about 500 new cases are being filed each month throughout the federal court system, and the total number of Bard hernia mesh cases may near 10,000 by the end of the year.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the federal judiciary has consolidated the 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 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.
On May 5, Judge Sargus issued a case management order (PDF), which establishes the schedule for preparing the first bellwether trial to begin on September 29, with a series of final pretrial conferences set for September 9, 15 and 16.
In January, Judge Sargus identified specific plaintiffs 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 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court issued orders in March which pushed back the start of the first two cases.
The first Bard hernia mesh case to go to before a jury will involve a complaint filed by Steven Johns, who experienced complications with Bard Ventralight ST mesh, which is a type of polypropylene patch involved in a large number of other claims pending in the litigation.
While the outcomes of these early bellwether 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.