The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will consider a proposal to centralize all federal hernia mesh lawsuits involving products manufactured by C.R. Bard, Inc. and its Davol, Inc. subsidiary during its July Hearing Session.
According to a Hearing Session Order dated June 15th, Bard and Davol have been named defendants in more than 50 product liability claims currently pending in 21 federal jurisdictions. All of the cases were filed on behalf of individuals who claim to have suffered hernia recurrence and other serious complications due to the companies’ allegedly defective polypropylene devices, including Ventralex and Perfix hernia mesh implants.
Several plaintiffs filed a petition with the JPML in April asserting that centralization of all federally-filed Bard hernia mesh lawsuits would improve judicial efficiency, reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and serve the convenience of the witnesses, the parties and the courts. They have proposed the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio, or alternatively, the Western District of Missouri, as possible venues for the multidistrict litigation.
The JPML’s next Hearing Session will be convened on July 26th at the Santiago E. Campos United States Courthouse. Oral Arguments begin at 9:30 a.m.
If the Panel agrees to create a multidistrict litigation for federally-filed Bard hernia mesh lawsuits, all such pending claims, as well as any filed in the future, will be transferred to a single U.S. District Court judge for coordinated discovery and motion practices. In most multidistrict litigations, a small group of representative cases will be selected for bellwether trials. Such trials are intended to test the strength of plaintiffs’ claims and provide insight into how other juries might decide similar lawsuits.
Each hernia mesh lawsuit included in the proposed multidistrict litigation would retain its individuality and be decided on its own merits. Any cases not resolved via the multidistrict litigation process would be returned to the original court of filing for trial.
This is not the first time the JPML has been asked to centralize product liability lawsuits involving polypropylene hernia mesh implants.
Nearly 1,200 hernia mesh lawsuits involving Ethicon, Inc.’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite mesh products are currently centralized before a single judge in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. (IN RE: Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2782)
Ethicon withdrew Physiomesh Flexible Composite mesh from the global market on May 25, 2016, after unpublished registry data indicated that the implants were associated with higher recurrence and revision rates when used in laparoscopic ventral hernia repair compared to other mesh implants.
Atrium Medical Corp. is facing at least 471 lawsuits involving its C-Qur hernia mesh implants, all of which have been centralized in a multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire. Plaintiffs involved in this litigation claim that the C-Qur design causes an inflammatory response that may result in improper fixation, bowel adhesions and other severe complications. (IN RE: Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2753)