In 2011, C.R. Bard Inc. agreed to pay around $184 million to settle lawsuits consolidated in Rhode Island multidistrict litigation. The lawsuits alleged plaintiffs suffered severe harm because of defective Kugel Mesh hernia patches, which included memory recoil rings that could break after implantation resulting in abscesses and fistulas in the patient’s abdomen.
At the time, Bard faced more than 3,000 lawsuits in state and federal court regarding its hernia patches. When it announced the settlement, Bard did not admit liability. The company defended the mesh, saying that some injuries were the result of doctor error.
Bard had reportedly agreed to the settlement after a bellwether trial resulted in $1.5 million awarded to a plaintiff - Christopher Thorpe - who alleged he developed an abscess and a fistula after a Kugel Mesh was implanted to repair a ventral hernia. Bard had filed for a new trial, but a federal judge rejected the request.
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All three recalls were linked to reports of the memory ring breaking, resulting in painful and serious injuries. At the time, patients were warned to watch for signs of memory ring breakage, which included unexplained or persistent abdominal pain, fever and/or tenderness at the surgery site.
As a result, patients who had the Kugel Mesh implanted may still be at some risk of the device failing and may still be able to file a lawsuit if the memory ring breaks and they are injured as a result.
The settlement was linked to In re: Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch Products Liability Litigation, case number 07-md-01842, US District Court for the District of Rhode Island.