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C.R. Bard has reportedly reached an agreement to settle Kugel hernia mesh lawsuits brought by about 2,600 people who experienced severe internal injuries caused by problems with their hernia repair patches, with in an average payout of about $70,000 for each plaintiff. However, the settlement still leaves around 1,000 claims unresolved.
An estimated $184 million will be paid to resolve the product liability lawsuits, which began after Bard’s Davol unit began recalling Composix Kugel surgical mesh patches in December 2005. Various sizes and shapes of the patch have been found to have design defects that may increase the risk of problems after hernia repair surgery.
The Kugel Patch contains a memory recoil ring around the perimeter of the mesh, which allows the doctor to fold it during the hernia repair. It is designed to spring open once in place to lay flat. However, in many cases the plastic ring has broken, resulting in serious internal injury.
Bard first reported the tentative settlement late last month in its second-quarter earnings report, coming after only two out of an estimated 3,600 lawsuits over Kugel hernia mesh problems have made it to trial.
The first Kugel bellwether trial held in federal court, which involved a case brought by John Whittfield, ended in a defense verdict last April. While the jury in that case found that the manufacturers were negligent in the design of the Composix Kugel patch, they found that the plaintiff did not provide that his hernia repair problems were directly caused by or contributed by the negligent design.
However, in August 2010, a different plaintiff was awarded $1.5 million in damages for problems caused by the Kugel hernia patch. The lawsuit alleged that Christopher Thorpe suffered severe internal injuries and a sepsis infection when the hernia patch broke inside of him.