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Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Tangled in Delays

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Hernia Mesh Lawsuits divided into three MDLs are delayed, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic, and more lawsuits are being filed

Concord, MAHernia mesh lawsuits filed against three medical device manufacturers have been delayed mainly because of the coronavirus pandemic, and bellwether trials have been delayed a few times already. Nearly 15,000 hernia mesh claims pending in the federal court system have been consolidated in three multi-district litigations (MDLs).

Bellwether trials in each MDL have now been delayed until at least January 2021. They will be scrutinized by both plaintiffs and defendants (below) to measure jury response to certain evidence and testimony that will likely be similar throughout each litigation. 

C.R. Bard Hernia Mesh Lawsuits

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation described the Bard MDL cases:

All of the actions share common factual questions arising out of allegations that defects in defendants' polypropylene hernia mesh products can lead to complications when implanted in patients, including adhesions, damage to organs, inflammatory and allergic responses, foreign body rejection, migration of the mesh, and infections.

Steven Johns’ bellwether trial is up first against Bard. Johns suffered severe complications after his surgeon implanted him with Bard Ventralight ST mesh, according to his lawsuit. He suffered pain, a hernia recurrence and adhesions after his first surgery and had a second to remove the original mesh and replace it with another Ventralight ST. Johns argues that Bard knew:
  • the component parts of the mesh were dangerous and unsafe for use in medical devices;
  • that polypropylene is not suitable for permanent implantation in the human body, that the ST coating resorbs too quickly,
  • that the PGA fibers created an increased inflammatory response.

The case is Johns v. CR Bard et al, Case No. 2:18-cv-01509. Trials were originally supposed to start in May 2020 but Judge Sargus moved the first trial date to Jan. 11, 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ethicon Physiomesh Lawsuits

As of October 2020 Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Ethicon is slammed with 3,128 Physiomesh hernia mesh lawsuits. The cases are filed in the Northern District of Georgia with Judge Richard Story presiding.

Four bellwether cases were selected in September 2020, including lawsuits filed by Diane and Jim Crumbley, Danielle Guffy, James Bovian and Jeffrey Smith. Crumbley is slated first with the trial set for January 25, 2021 and expected to last two to three weeks. The second Ethicon trial begins late March and the third early June. The fourth date hasn’t been scheduled yet.

Jim Crumbley claims he had to have a second surgery for complications after he Ethicon Physiomesh implanted in 2014, and he still suffers from complications. 

Atrium C-Qur Lawsuits

As of October 2020, there are 2,378 Atrium C-QUR mesh lawsuits pending in a New Hampshire federal court MDL before Judge Landya B. McCafferty. All of the lawsuits blame Atrium’s C-QUR hernia mesh products, which are coated with a fish oil derivative. Plaintiffs’ attorneys blame the fish oil, the plastic mesh itself and the FDA’s medical device approval process for mesh complications.

The first bellwether was originally scheduled for May 2020. Carrie Barron’s lawsuit will be the first bellwether and is scheduled for trial on Jan. 20, 2021, according to Judge McCafferty has suggested that the Barron trial may be conducted remotely and once plaintiffs and defendants have given their recommendations, McCafferty will rule on them.  

Future Hernia Mesh Litigation

After the bellwether trial process, if each of the manufacturers are unable to dismiss the cases or negotiate hernia patch settlements to resolve cases, thousands of individual claims may ultimately be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trial dates in coming years.

While thousands of lawsuits have been filed, thousands more hernia mesh claims are expected. Judge Sargus said there may be 10,000 lawsuits against Bard by the time the first case goes to trial. And that prediction accounts for just one out of three MDLs.


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