First hernia mesh jury trial set for April 2021
The lawsuits against Davol and Bard were consolidated into an MDL in August 2018 to more effectively and feasibly address the continuously growing number of suits filed. An MDL is similar to a class action in that it provides for a more efficient handling of similar claims filed by a large number of people, grouping together multiple individual cases and moving them to a single court. Johns’ bellwether trial will serve as a sort of “test case” to help anticipate the results of future similar cases with a goal of moving the overall litigation towards resolution.
The first Bellwether trial in the sprawling hernia mesh multidistrict litigation (MDL) has been tentatively set for April 19, 2021. The case was selected by the court back in January 2020 but the trial was rescheduled several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of October 2020, hernia mesh manufacturer C.R. Bard was facing more than 9,000 federal lawsuits in the Southern District of Ohio (1).
Steven Johns, the plaintiff in the case, claims C.R. Bard knew of and ignored the warnings about the safety of polypropylene materials in their hernia mesh devices – specifically that polypropylene is unsuitable for permanent implantation in the human body and that fibers in the mesh device created an increased inflammatory response. The suit alleges “that defects in defendants’ polypropylene hernia mesh products can lead to complications when implanted in patients, including adhesions, damage to organs, inflammatory and allergic reactions, foreign body rejection, migration of the mesh, and infections (2). Johns brought his lawsuit to recover for injuries sustained as a result of implantation of Bard’s Ventralight ST device.
Mesh patches for hernias were first approved in 1990 by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and have been implanted into patients over a million times. Polypropylene mesh, touted as both durable and flexible, is the most common type of synthetic hernia mesh on the market today. Although polypropylene meshes are generally considered the current standard of practice, polypropylene-based mesh repairs nonetheless still result in adverse effects and post-surgery complications. U.S. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from numerous polypropylene suppliers also caution that polypropylene is not to be used for medical applications involving permanent implantation in the human body. The first hernia mesh was recalled in 2005 by Davol Inc., a subsidiary of C.R. Bard. Then in 2014, The FDA recalled several different meshes from Bard, Ethicon Inc. and Atrium Medical Corporation.
The lawsuits against Davol and Bard were consolidated into an MDL in August 2018 to more effectively and feasibly address the continuously growing number of suits filed. An MDL is similar to a class action in that it provides for a more efficient handling of similar claims filed by a large number of people, grouping together multiple individual cases and moving them to a single court. This allows for one judge who is familiar with the details affecting all of the cases to oversee the proceedings and move things along at a quicker pace. Johns’ bellwether trial will serve as a sort of “test case” to help anticipate the results of future similar cases with a goal of moving the overall litigation towards resolution.
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