Posted by : Irvin Jackson
With two more Bard hernia mesh lawsuit bellwether trials scheduled over the next few months, plaintiffs are looking for updates on whether a settlement can be reached, or when their cases may be remanded for trial.
Following two previously held bellwether trials and nearly five years of coordinated pretrial proceedings in an MDL, individuals who have brought a Bard hernia mesh lawsuit are still awaiting a resolution to the litigation or the opportunity to present their cases to a jury.
C.R. Bard faces more than 18,000 product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court’s system over complications associated with polypropylene mesh systems, including Bard Ventralight, Bard Ventralex, Bard 3DMax, Bard PerFix Plug, and others.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the litigation, complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide were centralized as part of a Bard Hernia Mesh MDL in early August 2018, where U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus has been presiding over coordinated discovery and a series of early bellwether trials in the Southern District of Ohio.
While the litigation has continued to increase in scope as Bard products continue to fail and hernia mesh lawyers file new lawsuits, little progress has been made to reach a final settlement or resolution for the litigation.
Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
Cases reviewed for problems with several types of hernia repair products.
Early in the litigation, Judge Sargus selected four cases for bellwether trials, which were designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.
Following a number of delays, including postponements required by the COVID-19 pandemic, only two trials have been held in the MDL, which ended with mixed results.
The first case went before a jury in August 2021, resulting in a defense verdict for Bard. That trial was followed by a second bellwether case that went before a jury in April 2022, resulting in a $255,000 verdict.
In August 2022, a state court lawsuit in Rhode Island resulted in a $4.8 million verdict over Bard hernia mesh problems, which sent a strong signal to the manufacturer about the extent of liability it may face in certain cases, as each individual lawsuit goes before a jury.
There are now two additional claims prepared to go before juries in Judge Sargus’ court, for the third and fourth bellwether trials, including a Bard PerFix Plug lawsuit filed by Robert Stinson, Jr., which is scheduled to begin in October 2023, and a Bard 3DMax lawsuit filed by Jacob Bryan, which may go to trial in January 2024.
Stinson’s trial was previously expected to begin in February 2023, before being delayed until May, and then being pushed again until October, due to ongoing health issues the plaintiff was experiencing. This has, correspondingly, pushed back the fourth bellwether trial, as well as any progress in thousands of other claims pending in the MDL.
Bard Hernia Mesh Settlement May Hinge on Bellwether Trials
Although the outcome of early bellwether trials held in the federal MDL will not have any binding impact on other claimants, they are designed to promote settlement negotiations by highlighting the amounts of Bard hernia mesh lawsuit payouts that may be awarded if each claim goes to trial.
If the parties fail to negotiate acceptable average Bard hernia mesh settlements to resolve large numbers of claims following the last two bellwether trials, it is expected that Judge Sargus will consider remanding large numbers of claims back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates nationwide. However, there has been no signal when those remands may begin or how long it would take for those claims to be ready to go before a jury.
In addition claims against Bard, thousands of similar claims have been filed in recent years against manufacturers of other polypropylene mesh products that have resulted in widespread injuries, including thousands of Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits and Atrium C-Qur lawsuits which were centralized in separate MDLs, and lawyers involved in each of those proceedings have reached hernia mesh settlements shortly before scheduled bellwether trials were set to begin.
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