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January 22, 2021

Hernia Mesh Lawsuits More Than Doubled in 2020

Hernia Mesh Litigation Grows as Bard Trials Start in 2021

Even in light of massive holdups due to the COVID-19 pandemic, claims against hernia mesh manufacturers more than doubled in 2020. Hernia mesh lawsuits, which continue to flood in from across the U.S., allege these devices caused severe injuries and complications that led to the need for additional surgeries.

According to reports, in December 2019, Bard, Ethicon, and Atrium faced 7,803 hernia mesh lawsuits in the federal courts. Each of these lawsuits raises similar claims that these hernia mesh manufacturers failed to warn consumers that their mesh products could cause dangerous complications and the need for revision surgery to correct complications.

One year later, that number more than doubled with 15,800 product liability lawsuits pending in multidistrict litigations. With the largest hernia mesh litigation, C.R. Bard, Inc. faces over 9,000 lawsuits as of October 2020. Likewise, litigation against Ethicon and Atrium grew with 3,128 and 2,378 pending lawsuits, respectively.

In recent years, health officials released hernia mesh recalls and device warnings after discovering several models of mesh implants had high rates of buckling and failing inside of patients. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recurrence, infection, pain, adhesion, perforation, and obstruction are the most common complications associated with recalled hernia mesh devices.

“In the FDA’s analysis of medical adverse event reports to the FDA, recalled mesh products were the main cause of bowel perforation and obstruction complications,” the FDA reported in a health resource in 2018.

Due to the increasing lawsuits against mesh manufacturers, all hernia mesh claims in the federal courts were centralized as part of multidistrict litigations. Bard, Ethicon, and Atrium hernia mesh lawsuits have been centralized in courts across the nation and are in varying stages of trial preparation.

Bard Hernia Mesh Litigation

Bard hernia mesh claims are centralized before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus in the Southern District of Ohio. Currently, these claims are undergoing coordinated discovery in preparation for a series of early trial dates known as “bellwether trials.” These trials, while not binding on the outcome of other trials in the litigation, help parties gauge how juries may likely respond to certain evidence and testimony repeated throughout the claims.

Like the rest of the judicial system, Bard’s litigation faced many delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first bellwether trial in the litigation was originally intended to start in late 2020, it is now scheduled to begin April 2021 with a second trial to likely begin in late summer 2021. Court documents indicate the second bellwether trial involves complaints about complications caused by Bard’s Ventralex patch.

So far, no total hernia mesh settlement has been reached. However, in 2011 Bard settled over 3,000 hernia mesh lawsuits for $184 million, the largest hernia mesh settlement to date. This settlement resolved earlier lawsuits over Bard Davol’s Kugel Patches, which were recalled in 2005 for causing bowel perforations and fistulas.

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