Hundreds of hernia mesh lawsuits involving C.R. Bard, Inc.’s polypropylene devices are moving forward in the multidistrict litigation currently underway in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio.
According to an Order dated December 19th, the Court has established protocols governing the preservation, storage, and handling of explanted Bard mesh and other pathology specimens removed from plaintiffs during hernia revision surgery.
In addition, the protocols apply to “histology slides, paraffin blocks containing tissue, loose mesh, mesh and tissue, dry mesh, and gross material”.
Nearly 230 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits are currently pending in the Southern District of Ohio.
All of the cases involve plaintiffs who received Bard’s polypropylene hernia patches, including the Bard Ventralex, Bard Perfix, Bard Composix, among others.
Their lawsuits assert that the polypropylene used to manufacture Bard’s devices is defective and biologically incompatible with human tissue. These issues allegedly resulted in adhesions, organ damage, inflammatory responses, device failure, hernia recurrence, and other painful and debilitating injuries.
The federal multidistrict litigation for Bard hernia mesh lawsuits was established last May. At the time, there were 50 such cases pending in various federal courts throughout the United States. However, plaintiffs contend that the litigation could eventually grow to include thousands of similar lawsuits.
The multidistrict litigation process allows personal injury claims involving similar products and allegations to undergo coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings. Among other things, the process is intended to promote judicial efficiency and preserve the resources of the courts, parties, and witnesses involved in the lawsuits.
The federal judge presiding over the Bard hernia mesh litigation has tentatively schedule three bellwether trials to begin on May 8, 2020, July 13, 2020, and September 14, 2020.
The three trial cases will be selected from a Discovery Pool consisting of 12 representative Bard hernia mesh lawsuits that will be established by January 31st. Plaintiffs and defendants will each choose 6 cases for that pool.
The Discovery Pool will be reduced to a 6-member Bellwether Trial Pool by July 13, 2019. This time, the parties will select 3 cases each.
The Court will announce three final bellwether trial selections on February 14, 2020.
Bellwether trials are standard procedure in multidistrict litigations, and are intended to test the strength of plaintiffs’ claims. As such, verdicts in the Bard hernia mesh trials could predict how other juries might rule in similar lawsuits.
Although nothing is ever guaranteed, bellwether trial verdicts sometimes provide a path to a global settlement that resolves all claims pending in a multidistrict litigation.