Defective Devices

Hernia Mesh MDL Bellwether Trials Update May 2022

August 12, 2022

Here is yet another update for the ongoing Hernia Mesh Litigation. In our May 2022 update, we cover the most recent bellwether trials and how their outcomes may shape the rest of the litigation.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against hernia mesh manufacturers over links to serious and life-threatening complications after hernia surgery.

What are hernia mesh patches?

As discussed in prior issues of the GAVEL, hernia mesh patches are used to strengthen muscles or tissues that are weak or torn. Mesh patches for hernias were first approved in 1990 by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and numerous companies manufactured different types of patches that have been implanted into patients over one million times. One reason for the large number of mesh patches on the market stems from the FDA’s decision to allow hernia mesh manufacturers to use the 510(K)-clearance process, a less rigorous method for companies to fast-track their product to market. Unfortunately, this fast approval has coincided with numerous product defect recalls starting as far back as 2005. Thousands of patients have reported injuries and complications from these products, including:

  • Punctured organs and tissues
  • Adhesions
  • Foreign body rejection
  • Allergic and inflammatory responses
  • Mesh detachment and migration
  • Infections
  • Pain
  • Bowel obstruction

These complications have often required additional (revision) surgeries.

Numerous Lawsuits Filed.

There are currently over 20,000 hernia mesh cases pending in courts across the country. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against hernia mesh manufacturers such as C.R. Bard and Ethicon in the past few years and several MDLs (multi-district litigation) have been formed to more effectively handle the growing number of law suits. An MDL consolidates cases from around the country into a single federal court for coordinated discovery and other procedures. Test cases, called bellwether trials, may be held to allow the parties to see how a representative case will play out in court, often leading to the resolution of a large number of cases.  

Bard Mesh MDL.  

As of May of 2022, hernia mesh manufacturer C.R. Bard is facing more than 16,000 federal lawsuits in the MDL formed in the Southern District of Ohio. Bard’s Ventralex mesh, Perfix plug and Composix Kugel mesh are the hernia mesh products most commonly at issue in these lawsuits. However, cases have been filed for injuries from over 20 Bard hernia mesh products including the 3D Max, Ventrio, Ventralex ST, Ventrio ST, Ventralight ST, Perfix Light Plug, Composix, Bard Mesh, Bard Soft Mesh and Sepramesh IP.

Finally, the Bellwether Trials Begin.

Covid related issues stalled many of the MDL bellwether trials that were set for 2020-2021. The first trial was finally held in August of 2021 and lasted several weeks.  Unfortunately, the jury found no liability on Bard’s part for injuries plaintiff Steven Johns said he sustained as a result of a defective Ventralight ST hernia mesh. It should be noted that the defendants chose this first bellwether case.  The next bellwether case would be a plaintiff’s pick.

A Plaintiff Victory.

The second bellwether trial in the Bard Hernia Mesh MDL brought by plaintiff Antonio Milanesi was originally scheduled for January 10, 2022. Mr. Milanesi had additional hernia surgery after a Bard Ventralex mesh patch was implanted ten years ago. During the surgery, doctors found that his bowel had eroded with a fistula and adhesions. This required the surgeon to remove parts of his colon. The Florida surgeon testified that the polypropylene mesh had adhered to his colon causing the severe problems suffered by Mr. Milanesi. The jury awarded Mr. Milanesi $250,000 for his pain and suffering finding that Bard’s mesh product was defectively designed. “This is the first time in the 14-year history of various hernia mesh litigations that any jury ever has found for a plaintiff on a design defect theory,” said Levin, Papantonio, plaintiff  attorney Tim O’Brien. O’Brien added that O’Brien added that the verdict would likely help establish settlement values for the remainder of the thousands of cases in the MDL.      

Global Settlement Reached in Ethicon Mesh MDL.

Numerous other MDLs have been formed across the country to handle the  different types of hernia mesh products. For example, nearly 3,000, federal lawsuits alleging injuries from Ethicon’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh  were consolidated in an MDL venued in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. In early May 2022, it was reported that a global settlement of these cases was reached. Stay tuned for more details on the terms of this and other potential hernia mesh settlements.

We’re Here to Help.

If you or a loved one experienced painful side effects or severe injuries after hernia repair surgery which required a second (revision) surgery, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer of these defective products without ever going to court. We invite you to join the community of individuals who are holding hernia mesh manufacturers accountable by asserting your claim.  

Fill out the intake form HERE for a free and no-obligation review of your case. We’re here to help. If you do not receive a recovery through a lawsuit or settlement, you don’t owe us anything.

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