Strattice Hernia Mesh Lawyers Appointed to Leadership Roles in New Jersey State Court Litigation
The New Jersey judge recently appointed to preside over all Strattice hernia mesh lawsuits filed throughout the state court system has appointed five plaintiffs’ attorneys and two defense attorneys to serve in leadership positions in the litigation.
Dozens of product liability complaints have been filed in New Jersey state courts involving problems with LifeCell Strattice biological patches, which are constructed from pig skin and preserved in a phosphate buffered aqueous solution.
Known as a cross-linked graft device, the Strattice tissue matrix is designed to chemically link the proteins in the tissue together. However, cross-linking has been linked to a risk of foreign body response, according to allegations raised in complaints brought by individuals who have experienced painful and debilitating complications after the surgical mesh was used during a hernia repair.
Given common questions raised in complaints brought throughout the state, the litigation was centralized and consolidated before New Jersey Superior Court Judge John C. Porto in Atlantic County in October, as part of a multicounty litigation (MCL), which is intended to reduce duplicative discovery and avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges.
The allegations presented in the litigation are different than those raised in other lawsuits over hernia mesh filed in recent years over products made with polypropylene; a thermoplastic polymer. There are tens of thousands of Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits, Atrium C-Qur mesh lawsuits, Bard hernia patch lawsuits and similar claims alleging that design defects with the polypropylene products resulted in painful and complications. However, the Strattice mesh lawsuits allege that similar problems have been linked to this biologic product.
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In a case management order (PDF) issued on December 23, Judge Porto appointed a group of Strattice hernia mesh lawyers to serve in various leadership roles, taking certain actions during pretrial proceedings that will benefit all plaintiffs presenting claims, including arguing motions, taking depositions of common witnesses, reviewing discovery documents and other actions.
Three plaintiffs attorneys were appointed as co-lead counsel, as well as a litigation liaison counsel for plaintiffs, and a New Jersey liaison counsel for plaintiffs. The order also appointed a lead counsel for defendants and a liaison counsel for defendants.
Each plaintiff will still maintain their own lawyer for the Strattice mesh lawsuit, to represent their specific interests in their claims against manufacturers, and establish that their injury was caused by alleged defects with the biologic tissue matrix.
Plaintiffs claim the manufacturer knew about problems with the Strattice mesh design since at least 2010, after receiving a number of reports of doctors having to remove failed and infected mesh from patients.
From September 1990 through September 2020 the FDA received at least 450 Medical Device Reports (MDRs) linked to problems with the Strattice mesh. Six of those reports included patient deaths, more than 340 were injury reports, and at least 107 indicated malfunctions of the mesh.
Similar to multidistrict litigations (MDLs) used at the federal level, consolidating the cases as part of a New Jersey MCL transferred claims pending throughout the state to Judge Porto for all pretrial proceedings. While each lawsuit remains an individual case, the Court will coordinate discovery into common issues in the claims and likely schedule a series of early “bellwether” trials to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.
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