The federal court overseeing hundreds of injury claims involving C.R Bard’s polypropylene hernia mesh products has established protocols governing the handling of Defendant Fact Sheets for all cases included in the litigation’s bellwether trial pool.
Multidistrict litigations, like the proceeding currently underway in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, for federally-filed Bard hernia mesh lawsuits, often utilize Plaintiff and Defendant Fact Sheets to streamline discovery. These standardized forms seek basic information about plaintiffs’ claims and defendants’ knowledge about aspects of those claims.
Late last month, the judge overseeing the Bard hernia mesh litigation selected 12 lawsuits for inclusion in the proceeding’s bellwether trial pool. Eventually, the Court will choose three of these lawsuits for early trials tentatively set to begin in May 2020. These trials will act as test cases, and their verdicts could provide insight into how other juries might decide similar lawsuits involving Bard polypropylene hernia mesh.
According to an Order dated April 1st, Defendant Fact Sheets for those 12 cases must be submitted to the Court on or before April 25th. However, the Order stipulates that Defendants may request a 7-day extension for submitting a form, which Plaintiff’s may not unreasonably withhold.
The Order also sets forth procedures for resolving disputes when Plaintiffs’ Counsel deems a Defendant Fact Sheet to be deficient, as well as the steps they must take should a Defendant fail to serve a completed form before the deadline expires.
Finally, the Order makes clear that all information disclosed in a Defendant Fact Sheet, the form itself, and all accompanying documents (including healthcare information) will be deemed confidential.
More than 240 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits are now pending in the multidistrict litigation underway in the Southern District of Ohio. However, Plaintiffs’ Counsel anticipate that roughly 3,000 such claims will be filed in the proceeding by the end of the year.
All of these cases involve individuals who suffered serious injuries and complications, allegedly due to defectively-designed polypropylene hernia mesh implants marketed by Bard and its Davol, Inc. subsidiary. Devices cited in the complaints include: Composix E/X Mesh, Ventralex Hernia Mesh, Composix Mesh, Kugel Hernia Patch, CK Parastomal Patch, and the Modified Kugel Patch.
Plaintiffs claim, among other things, that Bard uses non-medical grade polypropylene that is biologically incompatible with human tissue. This defective material allegedly increases the risk for scarring and adhesions, organ damage, inflammatory responses, device failure, hernia recurrence, infections, and other serious complications that ultimately require additional surgery to remove the implants.
The lawsuits further note that multiple scientific studies have shown that “polypropylene mesh repair does not improve symptomatic results or quality of life over traditional non-mesh repair.” Yet the Defendants continued to represent Bard polypropylene hernia mesh products as safe and effective for their intended use and failed to warn doctors and patients about these alleged defects.