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The number of hernia mesh lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system continues to grow at a rapid rate, with more than 1,000 new product liability complaints filed over the past month involving problems associated with Bard, Ethicon and Atrium implants.
According to the latest docket report (PDF) issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), as of June 19 there are currently 2,478 Bard hernia mesh cases, 2,167 Ethicon Physiomesh cases and 1,403 Atrium C-Qur mesh cases pending in three separate consolidated proceedings established in the federal court system.
As lawyers continue to review and file additional complaints for individuals who have experienced complications with hernia mesh products manufactured and sold by the companies, the number of cases is expected to continue to rise from the current total of 6,048 claims against the three manufacturers.
Each of the complaints involve similar allegations, indicating that hernia mesh implants used in recent years were defectively designed, unreasonably dangerous, and prone to failure, migration, and infections, often resulting in recurrent hernias and the need for revision surgery.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the complaints filed in the federal court system against each of the manufacturers, the JPML has consolidated all Atrium C-Qur cases before U.S. District Judge Landya McCafferty in New Hampshire; all Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits before U.S. District Judge Richard Story in the Northern District of Georgia; and all cases against C.R. Bard before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio.
In addition to the federal litigation, hernia mesh cases have been filed against the manufacturers in various state courts nationwide, with large numbers pending in Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings in the federal court system, each of the presiding judges has established a “bellwether” process, where a small group of representative claims are being prepared for early trial dates again each manufacturer.
While the outcomes of these “bellwether” trials will not be binding on other cases, the process is designed to help gauge how juries may response to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated in thousands of individual cases, and potentially facilitate hernia mesh settlements that would avoid the need for each individual case to be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for a separate trial date.