A federal judicial panel has agreed to create a multidistrict litigation for all federally-filed hernia mesh lawsuits involving polypropylene devices marketed by C.R. Bard, Inc. and its Davol, Inc. subsidiary.
In an Initial Transfer Order dated August 2nd, the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered that all such pending cases, as well as any filed in federal courts in the future, be transferred to U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio, for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
The Order transfers 53 hernia mesh lawsuits filed in 21 different federal jurisdictions to the Southern District of Ohio. An additional 69 cases are eligible for transfer to the new multidistrict litigation, as are any future filings.
“All of the actions share common factual questions arising out of allegations that defects in defendants’ polypropylene hernia mesh products can lead to complications when implanted in patients, including adhesions, damage to organs, inflammatory and allergic responses, foreign body rejection, migration of the mesh, and infections,” the Order states. “Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.”
All of the currently pending hernia mesh lawsuits were filed on behalf of individuals who claim to have suffered serious complications due Bard and Davol’s allegedly defective polypropylene devices, including Ventralex and Perfix hernia mesh implants.
The creation of the new multidistrict litigation will allow the federal docket to undergo 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 transferred to the Southern District of Ohio will retain its individuality and be decided on its own merits. Any cases not resolved via the multidistrict litigation process will be returned to the original court of filing for trial.
This is the third centralized hernia mesh litigation created by the JPML in recent years.
More than 1,200 product liability claims 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 polypropylene 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 named a defendant in at least 471 hernia mesh lawsuits involving its C-Qur polypropylene implants, all of which have been centralized in a multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire. (IN RE: Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2753)