The federal court overseeing the multidistrict litigation established earlier this year for hernia mesh lawsuits involving polypropylene devices marketed by C.R. Bard, Inc. and its Davol, Inc. subsidiary is beginning to plan for bellwether trials.
According to a Pretrial Order issued in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, on October 12th, those trials could begin in approximately 16 months.
At some point, attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants will each identify 6 potential bellwether cases (a total of 12) for enhanced discovery and trial consideration. The Court will ultimately narrow the bellwether trial pool to 6 cases, choosing 3 from each of the parties’ selections.
The Court anticipates that each trial will last about 4 weeks, with a 5-week break between each.
As bellwether trials, verdicts in those cases could provide some clues as to how juries might rule in similar Bard hernia mesh lawsuits.
There are about 171 hernia mesh lawsuits pending in the multidistrict litigation now underway in the Southern District of Ohio, all of which were filed on behalf of plaintiffs who suffered serious injuries and complications – including scarring and adhesions, inflammatory and foreign body reactions, infections, and mesh erosion — allegedly caused by various multi-layer polypropylene implants, including Bard Ventralex, Bard Perfix, and Bard Composix devices.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) transferred all federally-filed product liability claims involving Bard and Davol polypropylene hernia mesh implants to the Southern District of Ohio in May. The multidistrict litigation process will allow all such cases to undergo coordinated pretrial discovery and other pretrial proceedings, thus preserving the resources of the court, witnesses, and parties involved in the proceeding.
There were just over 50 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits pending in federal courts throughout the country when the multidistrict litigation was initially established in May. Since then, over 100 new filings have joined the proceeding and some plaintiffs’ attorneys believe the litigation could eventually grow to include thousands of similar claims.
Bard and Davol are not the only hernia mesh manufacturers facing litigation over allegedly-defective polypropylene implants.
Ethicon, Inc. – a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson – has been named a defendant in over 1,400 lawsuits involving Physiomesh Flexible Composite mesh, a line of polypropylene implants that were withdrawn from the global market in 2016 because of higher recurrence and revision rates when used in laparoscopic ventral hernia repair.
Two centralized litigations have been established for Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits, including a multidistrict litigation currently underway in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. Physiomesh lawsuits filed in New Jersey state courts were recently consolidated before a single judge in Atlantic County Superior Court.
A federal multidistrict litigation has also been established in the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire, for hernia mesh lawsuits involving Atrium Medical Corp.’s C-Qur polypropylene implants. That proceeding now includes more than 750 filings.