Hernia Mesh Bellwether Trial Underway Against C.R. Bard

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C.R. Bard, a subsidiary of Becton, Dickinson and Co, is currently facing trial over claims that its hernia mesh—a surgical repair medical device—is defective and caused pain, inflammation and infection. 

Reuters.com reported that over 13,000 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits have been consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) in Columbus, OH. The MDL, overseen by Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus, is currently the third-largest in the country. 

The timing of this trial comes one decade after C.R. Bard paid an $184 million settlement to resolve 2,600 lawsuits over an earlier hernia mesh device. 

Bard was acquired in 2017 by Becton Dickinson, a company which reported nearly $4.8 billion in revenues last year. 

The first “bellwether” case in this hernia mesh MDL involves Utah resident Steven Johns, who alleges that he suffered “persistent, debilitating pain” and emotional distress after he was implanted with Ventralight ST hernia mesh patch in 2015 to repair an abdominal hernia. Johns needed additional surgery to repair the hernia mesh and then underwent a third surgical procedure because his hernia recurred. 

In his complaint, Johns alleges that the Ventralight ST was defective and “unreasonably dangerous” as designed. His attorneys will argue that a coating used in the device, which is intended to prevent the mesh from adhering to bodily tissue, actually sticks to the body and is toxic. 

According to Reuters, Johns’ case includes claims for negligence, design defect, manufacturing defect, breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation and violation of Utah’s consumer protection laws, among others. Johns’ bellwether trial is expected to last over one month. 

MDLs are consolidated in federal court. Bard also faces several hernia mesh lawsuits filed at the state level. In total, according to a company quarterly report filing, Bard faces more than 25,000 total lawsuits. 

Besides Bard, other companies are facing mass tort actions over hernia mesh. Johnson & Johnson entity, Ethicon, as well as Atrium Medical Corp. are named as defendants in MDLs. However, o trials have taken place yet in those cases.

In 2019, Bard paid a $60 settlement to resolve transvaginal mesh litigation with 48 states. Transvaginal mesh products were pulled from the market by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2019 due to safety concerns.

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