The plaintiff in a bellwether hernia mesh trial was awarded $255,000 after a federal jury agreed that a mesh produced by C. R. Bard Inc caused him significant injuries including a bowel abscess and infection. The trial was the second bellwether trial to happen in the matter, with the first verdict going to the defendants.
Bellwether trials are used as one of the initial steps in a multidistrict litigation to try to determine the main points of a case and whether similar trials would end the same way. Over 16,000 litigants are involved in the MDL, making it the third-largest pending MDL in the country. Among the injuries alleged by the plaintiffs are infections, pain, inflammation, and other issues.
Included in the allegations is that the C. R. Bard mesh (now owned by Beckton, Dickinson, and Co) is faulty in its very design. The device, which is used to repair and support the damage done when the patient suffers a hernia, is manufactured using polypropylene. Plaintiffs allege that the polypropylene breaks down over time and leads to an onslaught of injuries. Representatives for the plaintiff in the latest verdict said in a released email that the verdict shows that the Bard device, sold under the name Ventralex, is in fact dangerous and defective.
The federal MDL is just one headache currently plaguing Becton Dickinson. The company is also at the center of over 26,000 lawsuits filed in state courts alleging the same injuries.
Mesh manufacturers are no stranger to lawsuits over the design and effectiveness of their products. Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit faced over 40,000 lawsuits over its vaginal mesh products, with one case culminating in a $41 million verdict against the company. $25 million of that verdict was awarded as punitive damages when the jury determined that not only was the corporation aware of the issues with its vaginal mesh devices, but that it took significant measures to conceal those faults, including “disclosures to the FDA [that] were and are incomplete and misleading.”