The federal court overseeing thousands of hernia mesh lawsuits involving polypropylene implants manufactured by C.R. Bard, Inc. and its Davol, Inc. subsidiary has established a schedule for the multidistrict litigation’s first bellwether trial.
That trial is scheduled begin on September 29, 2020 in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio.
According to a Case Management Order dated on May 5th, the Court will convene the first of two pre-trial conferences on September 9th. Any objections to deposition designations and exhibits will be resolved during the second conference, which will be convened on September 15th and 16th.
In preparation for jury selection, lawyers for each side are to exchange proposed voir dire questions by August 24th, with a final proposal to be submitted to the Court by August 31st. They must also exchange proposals for jury instructions by August 31st and submit a final proposal no later than September 9th.
“If, after concerted good faith effort, the parties are unable to agree upon a particular case-specific instruction, each party shall propose its own version. Plaintiff’s version shall be presented first, immediately followed by Defendant’s version of the jury instruction, complete with pinpoint citations to binding authority,” the Order states. “Each version, Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s, shall appear together on one page for ready comparison. Versions of longer instructions (over one page) shall appear one after another. A party may indicate its general objection to the giving of the proposed instruction.”
More than 6,800 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits have been consolidated before a single judge in the Southern District of Ohio. The litigation’s bellwether trials are intended to serve as test cases and could provide valuable insight into how future juries might decide similar claims.
Plaintiffs involved in this proceeding claim that various hernia mesh devices marketed by Bard and Davol, including Composix E/X Mesh, Ventralex Hernia Mesh, Ventralight ST Mesh, Composix Mesh, Kugel Hernia Patch, CK Parastomal Patch, and the Modified Kugel Patch, were defectively designed and manufactured and responsible for the serious injuries and complications they experienced in the wake of hernia repair surgery.
Specifically, they assert the polypropylene used to manufacture the products was biologically incompatible with human tissue and caused some recipients to experience an inflammatory reaction that caused the mesh to fail. While the defendants had long been aware of these issues, they continued to market their products as safe and effective for use in hernia repair surgery and chose not to warn the public about the significant risk of complications.
The litigation’s first bellwether trial will involve Ventralight ST Mesh. The case was initially scheduled to go before a jury on May 20th, but the trial was delayed when the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of most in-person court proceedings.