The federal judge presiding over the consolidated Bard hernia mesh cases has issued a case management order approving 12 cases for the process of discovery, or evidence gathering, to serve as examples of the hundreds of similar cases that will follow. Currently, more than two hundred cases are pending against C.R. Bard, Inc. for damages due to injury from their hernia mesh products.
The Court order will help bring faster resolution to hundreds of these cases by choosing these dozen cases to serve as “bellwethers,” or precedent-setting cases that are representative of the body of claims at large and should indicate a trend in outcomes for the litigation as a whole. Six cases will then be shortlisted as the first to go to trial. Tentative trial start dates are May, July, and September 2020.
Lawsuits Against Bard Increase
The attorneys bringing suit on behalf of patients injured by Bard products are estimating the number of claims against Bard will continue to increase to at least 3,000 cases by the end of the year. At present, there are 240 cases pending because of the painful complications and corrective surgeries caused by Bard’s polypropylene mesh.
Bard Hernia Mesh Has a Decade-long Legacy of Legal Trouble
C.R. Bard, Inc. is one of several manufacturers under fire for the complications caused by hernia mesh. Each manufacturer has been embattled in its own way, and it’s not easy to keep all the allegations straight. In 2018, a judicial panel consolidated all polypropylene pelvic mesh cases to be heard in the same judicial location.
Here is a summary of Bard’s legal trouble due to their hernia mesh products:
- 2005 – Bard issued the first recalls of their Kugel Patch mesh product
- 2007 – Multidistrict litigation (MDL) formed to address the overwhelming Kugel Patch lawsuits
- 2010 – Two bellwether cases were selected regarding the Kugel Patch mesh; one of which awarded $1.5 million to the victim
- 2012 – Bard stopped selling CK Patch Mesh
- 2014 – The FDA issued a Class II recall for Bard’s PerFix Light Plug product over concerns about chronic pain, pelvic pain, and organ prolapse
- 2017 – Bard spent approximately $184 million to resolve 2,600 Kugel Patch-related lawsuits, and the MDL closed after 10 years. Remaining unresolved cases were transferred to state courts in Rhode Island
- 2018 – The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized all polypropylene mesh lawsuits to the Southern District of Ohio
Why Consolidate Cases into Multidistrict Litigation?
In short, the Bard hernia mesh cases have been consolidated because victims of malfunctioning surgical mesh medical products have suffered enough. Court cases like these involve tediously time consuming discovery (record gathering) that can go on for months or even years. In situations like these mesh cases, a lot of discovery will be repeated in each case because the claims are so similar.
When a single court district hears the cases all together, the whole administrative court process is streamlined and results in faster and more consistent rulings for the victims who are bringing the lawsuits.
Why Has Hernia Mesh Injured So Many People?
A hernia occurs when tissue, like an intestine, an organ, or fat, protrudes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue. Most hernias occur around the abdominal wall, though many occur in the groin area.
Surgery is the only option to repair hernias. Surgery can be either laparoscopic or open. Either option can involve the use of surgical mesh to strengthen the area where the hernia occurred and to prevent the hernia from recurring.
Hernia repairs are quite common, with doctors in the U.S. performing about a million surgical hernia repairs in each year. About 90 percent of surgical hernia repairs use mesh. These surgical mesh lawsuits are so numerous in part because of the prevalence of this procedure in which doctors permanently implant surgical mesh in a patient’s body.
Surgical Mesh Injuries
Surgical mesh can be synthetic or of animal-derived origin. Animal-derived surgical mesh is absorbed by the body, but synthetic surgical mesh is considered a permanent implant. Bard hernia mesh is made of polypropylene, a kind of plastic.
Common complications from surgical mesh surgery are:
- Chronic pain
- Hernia recurrence
- Bowel obstruction
- Bowel perforation
- Seratoma (fluid buildup)
- Mesh migration
- Mesh shrinkage
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says recalled mesh products that are no longer in use caused most of the bowel obstruction and bowel perforation reports they received. The majority of the lawsuits currently filed against Bard accuse their mesh of causing:
- Chronic pain
- Hernia Recurrence
- Additional corrective surgery
The permanency of polypropylene mesh can contribute to more complications like migration and fragmenting of the device. Since the plastic of the mesh will never be absorbed by the body, the fragments can move from the original implantation site and pierce or perforate the bowel or other organs.
Counterfeit Bard Hernia Mesh
All polypropylene surgical mesh litigation has been consolidated to one district, but one defendant notably missing from litigation is RAM Medical, Inc. The company is also embroiled in the widespread surgical mesh debacle, but for quite a different reason.
RAM Medical issued a voluntary recall in 2010 for counterfeit Bard brand surgical mesh that they sold to other medical distributors. Their criminally mislabeled mesh was sold as “Bard Flat Mesh” commonly called “Marlex Mesh,” but it was not a product that Bard manufactured.
The counterfeit mesh posed a much more urgent danger to patients than genuine Bard hernia mesh. These dangers included:
- The mesh was not sterile.
- The weave pattern and structure was larger than the authentic mesh, increasing the risk of hernia recurrence.
- The edges of the counterfeit mesh were improperly finished, allowing it to unravel in the body.
RAM Medical distributed this counterfeit product, possibly nationwide, between October 2008 and October 2009. During this time, it was permanently implanted in patients. The deception and subsequent recall were not announced until March of 2010.
These devices are not a part of the multidistrict litigation, possibly due to their status in criminal courts. Also, ongoing injuries from these counterfeit mesh implants may not be actionable claims due to the statute of limitations.
If you or a loved one possibly received a counterfeit mesh product, it would be best to consult a medical device attorney about your options.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured by Bard Hernia Mesh
If you have had a surgical hernia repair and:
- Have been dealing with chronic pain, or
- Experienced recurrent hernias, or
- Have suffered complications from infection, or
- Required additional surgery,
You may have an injury caused by Bard hernia mesh or another hernia repair device. The good news is there is still time make your claim for damages. Contact the medical device attorneys at Drug and Device Watch to learn more about your options. You may be entitled to substantial compensation. Call us toll free at 1-888-458-6825, or submit our contact form to request your free legal consultation.