The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has agreed to centralize all federally-filed hernia mesh lawsuits involving Atrium Medical Corp.’s C-Qur surgical mesh. Currently pending cases, as well as any future federal C-Qur lawsuits, will now be transferred to the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire, for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
C-Qur hernia mesh is intended for permanent abdominal wall reinforcement in hernia surgeries. Marketing materials for the product claim that its Omega-3 barrier coating reduces the risk of adhesions (scar tissue) between the hernia mesh and the intestines. Atrium also promises that this feature allows for better fixation of the mesh to the abdominal wall.
According to a Transfer Order issued by the JPML on December 8th, the new multidistrict litigation consists of 13 hernia mesh lawsuits currently pending in seven federal jurisdictions. An additional 8 claims are also eligible for transfer to the District of New Hampshire. In selecting that jurisdiction for the proceeding, the Panel noted that plaintiffs and defendants favored consolidation in New Hampshire. Seven of the hernia mesh lawsuits are pending in the state, and it is also the location of Atrium’s headquarters.
All of the cases included in the hernia patch litigation similarly allege that C-Qur mesh causes an inflammatory response that promotes the formation of bowel adhesions, impedes proper abdominal wall fixation, and causes additional severe complications. Plaintiffs further allege that Atrium was aware that C-Q suffered from design defects, yet concealed that knowledge and failed to provide appropriate safety warnings to doctors and patients.
The decision to create this multidistrict litigation comes just as claims involving Ethicon, Inc.’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh product are beginning to more forward. That hernia patch was pulled from the worldwide market earlier this year due to unexpectedly high rates of recurrence and revision seen in patients who had undergone laparoscopic ventral hernia repair with the device. Ethicon was not able to determine the reason for the higher rates, which it said may be due to product factors, as well as operative and patient characteristics.
It is still too early to predict whether or not Ethicon Physiomesh be centralized in a multidistrict litigation, and JPML has not been ye been asked to do so. However, the first such case is scheduled to go to trial in January 2018.