We have already written about the thousands of Bard hernia mesh cases pending in Rhode Island state court moving swiftly towards bellwether trials. Not to be outdone, the federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) cases in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, before Judge Edmund A. Sargus, are heating up as well.
The MDL encompasses claims against C.R. Bard and its corporate subsidiary, Davol, based upon allegations that Bard’s polypropylene hernia mesh was defective and caused injuries to patients. Even though the MDL was formed in August 2018, the Court has already put together an aggressive procedure and schedule for bellwether cases.
Again, a bellwether case is selected through a lengthy process in the courts to be tried as, essentially, a “test case” to help anticipate the outcome of future similar cases. It would not be feasible for the courts to address the thousands of cases filed across the country, so the cases are consolidated for pretrial purposes. Multiple cases are then selected as bellwether cases to potentially be tried, in hopes that an eventual global settlement may be reached between the parties. If settlement is not reached, then the cases may be remanded back to the plaintiff’s home state to be worked up for trial.
Right now in the Bard hernia mesh MDL, there are twelve cases in the bellwether pool to be worked up for trial – six cases were chosen by Plaintiffs and six cases were chosen by Defendants. As discovery in those cases proceeds, they will be whittled down to six cases. The Court will further reduce the amount of cases to three, with those cases to go to bellwether trials in May, July and September of 2020.
There are litigations around the country involving Bard hernia mesh product lines, including PerFix, 3DMax, Marlex, Kugel, Composix, Ventralex, Ventrio, Sepramesh and Ventralight. Litigation is proceeding simultaneously with hernia mesh cases across the country, concerning other manufacturers and their hernia mesh products. These include claims against manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon over Physiomesh, Proceed, PHS and Prolene 3D product lines; claims against manufacturer Atrium over C-Qur and Proloop product lines; and claims against manufacturer Covidien over the Parietex product line. It is hoped that the aggressive trial dates in the state and federal Bard hernia mesh bellwether cases can help to lead to an expeditious resolution of the Bard hernia mesh litigation – and even contribute to propelling the other hernia mesh litigations forward.