After finding that the cases involved common questions of fact and law, a federal panel in Ohio has joined 53 hernia mesh lawsuits against C.R. Bard Inc. and its subsidiary, Davol Inc., into one coordinated multidistrict litigation docket.
Plaintiffs had argued in April that their cases should be consolidated because of several complex but common pre-trial issues they all shared. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation made the decision earlier this month and also selected U.S. District Court Judge Edmund A. Sargus to oversee the proceedings.
This not only unifies the 53 cases from the 21 different federal jurisdictions but also provides a new home for 69 other cases and future cases that have yet to be filed.
These are more than 3,000 hernia mesh lawsuits filed around the country against different manufacturers by plaintiffs who had the devices surgically implanted to repair or prevent tissue or internal organs from protruding through weak or torn abdominal muscles, the groin or the diaphragm. They claim to have extreme pain and other symptoms – and many times are not able to work – because the devices have been rejected by their bodies, or adhesed itself to their organs or muscles or perforated muscles or organs.
Some of these plaintiffs have had multiple surgeries to try to repair the damage done, but find no relief.
In addition to Bard, there are hernia mesh products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon and by Atrium Medical Corp. Bard has already spent more than $184 million to settle the claims from another 2,000 plaintiffs.
Neither Bard nor Davol opposed the consolidation of the 53 Ohio cases, although they did ask the panel to include any claims against the company’s Composix Kugel Hernia Patch in the docket. The panel said it will not do that at this time because none of the pending cases involve the patch device. But it is a possibility I the future if such cases are filed that they become part of the Ohio docket.
“We find that these actions involve common questions of fact and that centralization in the Southern District of Ohio will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation,” the panel wrote in their Aug. 2 ruling.
“All of the actions share common factual questions arising out of allegations that defects in defendants’ polypropylene hernia mesh products can lead to complications when implanted in patients, including adhesions, damage to organs, inflammatory and allergic responses, foreign body rejection, migration of the mesh and infections.”
The 53 plaintiffs in this multidistrict litigation case are represented by Kelsey L. Stokes and George M. Fleming of Fleming Nolen & Jez in Houston, Troy A. Brenes of Brenes Law Group in Aliso Viejo, Calif., Steven C. Babin Jr. of Chapin Legal Group in Columbus, Ohio, and Adam M. Evans and C. Brett Vaughn of Hollis Law Firm in Prairie Village, Kansas.