Trials for almost 15,000 hernia mesh lawsuits, consolidated in three federal MDLs (multidistrict litigation) remain in limbo as the coronavirus has repeatedly delayed the first bellwether trials, which will have a big impact on whether or not three hernia mesh manufacturers will strike a settlement deal with plaintiffs.
C.R. Bard, Ethicon and Atrium are the manufacturers that face claims over defective surgical hernia mesh.
Bellwether Bard Hernia Mesh Trial
According to LawyersandSettlements.com, the first bellwether trial involving allegedly defective Bard hernia mesh is that of Steven Johns. After being implanted with Bard’s Ventralight ST mesh, Johns allegedly suffered severe complications, including pain as well as a hernia recurrence and adhesions after his first surgery.
A second surgery had to be performed on Johns in order to remove the original mesh and replace it with the same Ventralight product. Attorneys for Johns will argue in the bellwether trial that Bard was aware of the fact that components of the mesh were not only defective but unsafe.
Furthermore, Bard should have disclosed that its polypropylene mesh was not suitable for permanent implantation because of the fact that the coating resorbs too quickly.
Another point of contention likely to be made is that fibers in the mesh triggered an inflammatory response.
Originally scheduled for May of this year, the trial is now rescheduled for January of next year.
First Ethicon Physiomesh Trials
Talc baby powder isn’t the only legal headache for Ethicon’s parent company, Johnson & Johnson. J & J’s subsidiary faces over 3,000 claims for defective physiomesh. Physiomesh is a flexible material with large pores that’s designed to fit and, no pun intended, mesh well with the structure of the abdominal wall.
LawyersandSettlements reports that four bellwether cases have been rescheduled, the first of which will be the case of Jim Crumbley. Crumbley’s trial, slated for January 25 of next year, will present evidence linking his second surgery to complications he experienced after being implanted with Ethicon Physiomesh in 2014. Crumbley alleges he still suffers from complications.
Atrium C-QUR Lawsuits
There are nearly 2,400 claims against Atrium’s C-QUR mesh, alleging that the surgical device’s fish oil coating as well as the plastic mesh itself has led to complications in the plaintiffs. Also, the plaintiffs accuse the FDA’s medical device approval process for contributing to their complications. The case of Carrie Barron, originally scheduled for May 2020 and now scheduled for trial on Jan. 20 of next year, will be the first bellwether trial. DrugWatch.com suggests Barron’s case may be conducted remotely, and once plaintiffs and defendants have given their recommendations, the judge will rule on them.
Future Mesh Trials May Number In The Thousands
At the conclusion of the bellwether trials, if the cases emerge victorious for the plaintiffs with significant damage awards thrown in, the manufacturers will be more likely to settle. If settlements are not reached and the cases are not dismissed, it opens the window for thousands of lawsuits to be heard. Bard alone may potentially face 10,000 lawsuits by the time the first bellwether trial gets underway. And by then, thousands more claims may be filed against the three manufacturers.