Trial for Latest Bard Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Set To Begin Next Week in Federal MDL

Outcome of the Bard hernia mesh trial set to begin on October 16 may impact settlement values for thousands of similar claims brought by individuals who suffered painful and debilitating injuries from defective products.

The third bellwether trial over Bard hernia mesh will begin next week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, involving claims by a Maine man who says the manufacturer’s PerFix Plug failed and caused severe injuries that could have been avoided.

The allegations mirror those presented in more than 18,000 hernia mesh lawsuits brought throughout the federal court system against C.R. Bard, each involving claims that different polypropylene products sold in recent years were unreasonably dangerous and defective, including the Bard PerFix Plug, the Bard Ventralight, Bard Ventralex, Bard 3DMax, and others.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, the Bard hernia mesh litigation has been centralized for the past five years as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in Ohio, for coordinated discovery and a series of bellwether trials, which are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims.

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The first two bellwether trials ended in mixed results, with the first case ending in a defense verdict for Bard in August 2021, and the second bellwether trial resulting in a $255,000 verdict for the plaintiff in April 2022.

There are now two additional Bard hernia mesh bellwether trials scheduled, with the third set to begin next week. A fourth Bard mesh trial is expected to begin on April 8, 2024.

Third Bard Hernia Mesh Bellwether Trial

The third bellwether case will involve claims by plaintiff Aaron Stinson, who was implanted with a Bard PerFix Plug in 2015, during an inguinal hernia repair. His lawsuit indicates the device later failed, and had to be surgically removed in 2017, leaving him with chronic pain and other health complications.

Stinson indicates that his surgeon found the mesh curled up in a ball of scarred tissue during an exploratory surgery, which was done to determine why he was experiencing constant leg and groin pain. He indicates the hernia mesh manufacturers knew about the risk of PerFix Plug mesh failures long before the product was placed in his body, but failed to warn patients and the medical community.

“The crux of Plaintiff’s claims is that Defendants knew of certain risks presented by the PerFix Plug device but marketed and sold the device despite these risks and without appropriate warnings, causing Plaintiff’s injuries,” according to a pretrial order (PDF) issued by Judge Sargus last week. “Plaintiff alleges that the polypropylene in the PerFix Plug degrades after implantation, which enhances the chronic inflammatory response in the body. Plaintiff also claims that the inflammation and resulting fibrosis are exacerbated by the PerFix Plug’s shape, weight, and pore size. Plaintiff also claims that the PerFix Plug is susceptible to migration and has a high incidence of chronic pain. According to Plaintiff, Defendants downplayed the rate and severity of complications caused by the PerFix Plug, even when faced with reports of negative outcomes, which created an unreasonable risk of significant and permanent harm to patients.”

While the outcome of the case will not have any binding impact on other plaintiffs, it will be closely watched and any verdict is expected to have a large impact on the average hernia mesh settlement amounts the manufacturer may offer to avoid thousands of individual cases being returned to U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trials in the coming years.

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