Covidien Polyester Hernia Mesh is More Brittle, Susceptible to Breakage and Failure: Lawsuit

The lawsuit claims Covidien polyester hernia mesh is poorly designed and lacks the flexibility to be used in the groin.

A Michigan man has filed a product liability lawsuit over design defects with Covidien polyester hernia mesh, after his patch failed only a couple years after being implanted.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Graeme Beresford, and his wife, Michele, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on January 3, indicating that the Covidien Parietex Composite Ventral Patch is more brittle and susceptible to fatigue fracture, breakage, fragmentation and other mechanical failures than other hernia mesh products

Covidien Parietex is a two-sided hernia patch, which has been widely used in recent years during certain ventral hernia repair surgeries. The polyester mesh is coated with a protective, absorbable collagen barrier that is intended to prevent tissue attachment. However, the lawsuit alleges this barrier and other design elements actually result in a high rate of failure and complications with the hernia patch.

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According to Beresford’s complaint, he underwent a ventral hernia repair procedure in February 2019, at which time the polyester Covidien hernia mesh was implanted. However, just a year later, in January 2020, Beresford had to undergo surgery again because the ventral incisional hernia had reoccurred.

The lawsuit blames the failure of the Covidien Parietex hernia mesh on the device’s design, saying it was defective due to both the way it was designed, and the materials used in its construction, which led to it being susceptible to failure, particularly due to its placement in the groin.

“Defendants knew or should have known that the Hernia Mesh Device implanted in the groin will be subject to movement and bending. Polyester in the groin has a higher likelihood of folding and bunching, and the scar fills the spaces between the folds,” the lawsuit states. “The phenomenon was termed a ‘meshoma’ because the mesh forms a tumor-like mass.”

Beresford alleges manufacturers should have disclosed the Covidien Parietex risks, raising claims similar to those presented in an estimated 6,000 lawsuits brought by individuals who experienced problems after receiving the hernia mesh, including severe abdominal pain, infections, organ perforations, erosion and other problems, often resulting in the need for a risky hernia revision surgery to remove the defective mesh from their bodies.

January 2023 Covidien Parietex Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Update

Beresford’s complaint will be centralized with hundreds of other Covidien Parietex lawsuits pending in the federal court system, which are consolidated before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris in the District Judge in Massachusetts, as part of an MDL or Multidistrict Litigation.

Throughout 2023, it is expected that Judge Saris will preside over a “bellwether” process, where the parties will conduct coordinated discovery into a small group of representative claims, which will be prepared for early trial dates to help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their claims, and how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.

In addition to the federal Covidien hernia mesh MDL, thousands of additional claims are pending in Massachusetts state court, where the manufacturer’s U.S. headquarters were based, and where the majority of the litigation is currently pending and the judge has called for discovery to be completed by September 30, 2023.

While the outcomes of any early bellwether trials will not be binding on Beresford and other plaintiffs in the litigation, they may help drive the parties toward hernia mesh settlements that would avoid the need for hundreds of individual trials to be held.

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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