After Losing 1st Bard Hernia Mesh Trial, Plaintiffs Face Friendlier Court Date in January

Legal NewsMedical Devices

The first hernia mesh trial slated since the verdict of the first bellwether trial against manufacturer C.R. Bard was reached will take place in January, Lawsuit Information Center reported.  

After a discovery process that took years, the first bellwether trial in the C.R. Bard multidistrict litigation (MDL), which includes more than 8,000 lawsuits, resulted in a judgement for the defense earlier this year. C.R. Bard, which hand-picked the case for the first bellwether trial, had its motion for summary judgement for the second trial dismissed, in an attempt to prevent the trial from going to a jury. 

The second trial will be selected by attorneys representing the plaintiffs. Should C.R. Bard lose the second trial and face a large damage award issued to the plaintiff, the Becton-Dickinson subsidiary may consider a negotiated settlement rather than continuing to face numerous trials. 

New Jersey-based Bard is the leading manufacturer of hernia mesh patches. Used to repair muscle walls during a hernia surgical repair, the patches in some instances have caused patients to develop severe complications. 

Composed of synthetic polypropylene, the hernia mesh screen was designed to remain inert inside hernia patients’ bodies and not adhere to any organs or tissue. 

Bard faces an even greater number of product liability lawsuits pertaining to its hernia mesh patches than the number of cases in the MDL. As of November 1, the company faced 12,000 product liability claims. 

Plaintiffs allege that Bard failed to warn them about the risk of side effects and complications, which include infection, bowel perforation and systemic inflammation. The lawsuits also accuse Bard hernia mesh patches of having a design flaw that made them unsafe.  

The federal lawsuits against Bard were consolidated in federal court in 2017. The claims have a statute of limitation ranging from two to four years, depending upon in which state they were filed.

In MDLs, plaintiffs and defense alternately get to hand-pick the trials they want to see adjudicated in bellwether trials. For instance, Bard got to pick the first case, plaintiffs hand-picked the second case to be tested and Bard will select the third and so on. Bellwether trials help to establish facts in a trial that involves complex and numerous product liability claims. If bellwether trials end in big plaintiff victories, the defendant is more likely to agree to a settlement in order to resolve the massive number of lawsuits.

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