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C.R. Bard has filed an appeal of the $1.5 million verdict returned by a Rhode Island jury in a Kugel hernia patch lawsuit, after the trial judge refused to overturn the decision or allow a new trial.
The medical device company claims that the expert witnesses used by Christopher and Laura Thorpe did not provide legally acceptable evidence linking the Composix Kugel patch with Christopher Thorpe’s injuries.
Thorpe and his wife, from North Carolina, filed a lawsuit against C.R. Bard and their Davol subsidiary claiming that a defective design caused their Composix Kugel patch to break inside of him, causing internal injuries and a sepsis infection.
The month-long trial ended in late August, with the jury siding with the Thorpes’ and awarding them $1.5 million in damages. The jury ruled that C.R. Bard and Davol designed a defective device and failed to give proper warning about the risk of Kugel hernia patch problems.
C.R. Bard filed notice of the appeal last week, taking their argument to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
The case was the second Kugel hernia lawsuit to go to trial in federal court, where more than 1,300 other lawsuits are currently pending as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island. There are also another 1,700 Composix Kugel patch lawsuits pending in Rhode Island Superior Court, which have been centralized before Presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney.
Thorpe’s case was selected for an early trial in the federal MDL, known as a “bellwether” case, to help the parties get a sense of how juries will respond to evidence that may be similar to what will be presented in other cases. The results of the bellwether trials may lead to the settlement of Kugel hernia patch lawsuits over broken rings in other cases.
The first Kugel bellwether trial, which involved a case brought by John Whittfield, ended in a defense verdict last April. While the jury in that case found that Davol and Bard were negligent in the design of the Composix Kugel patch, they indicated that the plaintiff did not provide that his hernia repair problems were directly caused by or contributed by the negligent design.