Plaintiffs have asked the New Jersey Supreme Court to grant Multi-County Litigation status to hernia mesh lawsuits involving Ethicon, Inc.’s Proceed Surgical Mesh, Proceed Ventral Patch, and Proceed Hernia System implants.
The designation would centralize the cases in one New Jersey Superior Court, where they would undergo coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings before a single judge.
According to an Application for Multi-County Designation dated December, 3, 2018, more than 200 plaintiffs have already filed Proceed or Prolene hernia mesh lawsuits in Middlesex County Superior Court.
“The claims that are the subject of this application have one important commonality: all actions allege injuries stemming from certain deleterious properties of polypropylene, the base component of the products discussed in this application,” it states. “In particular, all injuries alleged in the actions are caused by the interrelated processes of (I) polypropylene degradation via oxidation and/or (2) polypropylene induced chronic inflammation.”
Because the litigation is likely to grow exponentially over the next several years, the Applications asserts that centralization will “allow for efficiencies in discovery that will conserve the resources of the judicial system and the parties.”
Last October, the New Jersey Supreme Court centralized all cases involving Ethicon’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite mesh implants in Atlantic County Superior Court.
Ethicon withdrew those hernia mesh devices from the worldwide market in March 2016, after data from two European registries indicated they were associated with higher rates of recurrence and revision surgery compared to comparable products.
The December 3rd Application suggests that either Atlantic County, Middlesex County, or Bergen County would be appropriate venues for the proposed Multi-County Litigation.
About 40% of the hernia mesh lawsuits pending in the Physiomesh litigation also allege injuries from either a Prolene or Proceed device, while most of the cases affected by the Application are pending in Middlesex County.
Meanwhile, the Ethicon pelvic mesh litigation underway in Bergen County involves issues and defendants that overlap with the Prolene and Proceed hernia cases.
More than 2,000 additional Ethicon hernia mesh lawsuits have already been centralized in a federal multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. That proceeding is already preparing for bellwether trials, which are scheduled to begin in February 2020.
An additional 200 federally-filed hernia mesh lawsuits involving polypropylene implants marketed by C.R. Bard, Inc. have been centralized in the Southern District of Ohio, while 1,000 cases involving Atrium Medical Corp.’s C-Qur hernia mesh products are undergoing centralized pretrial proceedings in New Hampshire federal court.