Despite their appeal for surgeons, dozens of hernia mesh patches have been recalled over the past decade in light of serious safety risks. Hernia mesh lawsuits are common, as injured patients pursue financial compensation for their injuries against medical device companies both large and small. From minor beginnings, the scope of hernia mesh litigation has exploded in recent years.

Are Hernia Mesh Settlements On The Horizon?

An estimated 60,000 patients and their loved ones have now filed suit against mesh manufacturers, accusing corporations from C.R. Bard to Johnson & Johnson of releasing defective mesh products onto the market. In their lawsuits, patients claim to have suffered a wide range of complications, including chronic pain, organ perforation, and device migration.

Ethicon & C.R. Bard Litigations

Two hernia mesh litigations, in particular, are gaining steam. Hundreds of injured patients have sued Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, over the company’s now-recalled Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh patch. The claims have been sent to a federal court in Georgia for centralized proceedings.

Likewise, a new wave of lawsuits involving C.R. Bard-made mesh patches is expected in the coming months, as attorneys continue to investigate the potential risks associated with products from the 3DMax mesh to Ventrio ST.

How Multidistrict Litigation Works

What happens to these medical device lawsuits after they are filed? Most claims make their way into a Multidistrict Litigation. Hundreds or thousands of similar lawsuits are transferred to a single federal court for consolidated pre-trial proceedings.

In this new “transferee” court, the claims move through important phases like discovery, in which evidence is gathered, as a group. Legal proceedings are guided by a single federal judge, appointed to the position by the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. At the same time, plaintiffs and defendants engage in ongoing settlement conversations, hoping to hammer out a deal that is acceptable to both sides in the dispute.

Encouraging Settlement Talks & Resolution

This process, Multidistrict Litigation, is designed to encourage the settlement of lawsuits. In many cases, the federal judge who presides over an MDL will order mandatory settlement conferences, in the hopes that an early agreement will avoid a protracted series of trials.

To speed things along, many judges also select a few “bellwether” trials to act as test cases. After identifying several lawsuits that pose questions central to the litigation, the judge will schedule these cases to go to trial first. Once juries have rendered their verdicts, both plaintiffs and defendants gain valuable information, and leverage, to use during settlement talks.

C.R. Bard Offered $184M Mesh Settlement

Over the years, plaintiffs’ attorneys have watched this process play out already in hernia mesh litigation.

In 2007, Rhode Island-based medical device company C.R. Bard was hit with a number of lawsuits over the Composix Kugel mesh, a patch that many patients blamed for severe complications. Soon, more than 150 Composix lawsuits had been transferred to a Rhode Island federal court, where the claims were consolidated as a Multidistrict Litigation.

After three years of pre-trial proceedings, the first bellwether trial was held, but it was a loss for the plaintiff. Undeterred, plaintiffs’ attorneys worked tirelessly to prepare for the next trial. Their effort paid off. A jury in Rhode Island awarded the second Composix lawsuit plaintiff nearly $1.5 million in compensation, leading the way to more-robust settlement conversations.

Less than a year later, C.R. Bard subsidiary Davol offered around 2,600 consolidated plaintiffs up to $184 million in compensation, with an average payout of about $70,800.

Settlement Amounts Are Unpredictable

Of course, there’s no guarantee that anyone hernia mesh lawsuit will ever settle. At this point, we can’t predict whether or not the ongoing C.R. Bard and Ethicon mesh litigations will reach a settlement agreement. This is a long legal process, and every defendant has the right to take their chances in court.

Nor is there a reliable way to estimate how much any claim is worth. The value of a hernia mesh lawsuit always comes down to the details of your injuries, the defendant’s alleged wrongdoing and other unique factors that just can’t be predicted from the outset.