The first of more than 1,000 Kugel hernia patch lawsuits has been scheduled for trial to begin on March 25 in the federal MDL.
The case, involving a claim filed by plaintiff John Whitfield, is being used as a “bellwether” trial to help the parties and the court gauge how juries will respond to evidence and witness testimony that may be presented throughout other cases in the litigation. All of the lawsuits involve similar allegations that plaintiffs suffered severe injuries as a result of the defective design of several types of hernia mesh products manufactured by Davol, Inc., a subsidiary of C.R. Bard, Inc.
Four bellwether trials are scheduled throughout the year. The outcome of the cases could set the tone for future Kugel hernia patch trials, and may provided the basis for a settlement or other resolution for the litigation.
All federal Kugel mesh lawsuits have been consolidated and centralized for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.
Three separate Kugel recalls were issued between 2005 and 2007 for different sizes and models of the patch, due to problems with a plastic ring inside the patch which can break, resulting in injuries like bowel perforation, chronic intestinal fistula and additional surgery to remove the mesh.
According to pretrial scheduling orders issued by the court earlier this month, the Whitfield trial will begin March 25, and counsel must provide proposed jury instructions by March 22, and a complete list of witnesses and exhibits at least 10 days before the trial begins.
Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi, who is presiding over the cases in the MDL, has urged the parties to attempt to settle the cases before juries are seated. A number of the Kugel patch lawsuit settlements have reportedly already been reached for undisclosed amounts.