Hernia mesh is widely used in hernia surgeries due to the low rate of recurrence. However, the high rate of complications and revision surgery has led to increased litigation in the last decade. Plaintiffs have brought hernia mesh lawsuits against surgical mesh manufacturers for defective product design, failure to warn patients about the risks of hernia mesh repair, and faulty manufacturing. Surgery involving hernia mesh has led to significant bodily injury, including adhesion, pain, obstruction, infection, organ perforation, and revision surgery. More than 20,000 hernia mesh lawsuits are currently pending against Ethicon Inc./Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon), Atrium Medical Corp. (Atrium), Davol Inc./C.R. Bard Inc. (Bard) and Covidien.
There are 3 separate hernia mesh lawsuits that have been consolidated into MDLs against Ethicon, Atrium, and Bard. The hernia mesh MDL against Bard is the largest of the three MDLs and is being held in the Southern District of Ohio. As of May 2021, there were over 12,000 individual actions pending in the Bard MDL. In the first bellwether trial, which began in August 2021, the test case involved a plaintiff who had a hernia repair using Bard Ventralight ST hernia mesh. The patient underwent revision surgery after experiencing severe pain and discomfort following a hernia mesh repair. The jury found in favor of Bard on all claims. Successive bellwether trials are scheduled to take place in 2022. For more information, see https://www.ohsd.uscourts.gov/multidistrict-litigation-2846.
The hernia mesh MDL against Ethicon is the second largest litigation of the three MDLs. As of May, 2021, the Ethicon MDL had over 3,500 cases pending and was consolidated in the Northern District of Georgia. The lawsuits against Ethicon involve claims related to the PHYSIOMESH Flexible Composite Mesh, which was removed from the market due to the safety risks of this hernia mesh product. According to court filings, the parties agreed to a global settlement of Ethicon’s PHYSIOMESH Flexible Composite Mesh claims for claims filed by May 13, 2021. For more information, see http://www.gand.uscourts.gov/17md2782.
The most recent hernia mesh MDL centers around the Atrium’s C-Qur line of mesh products. With over 2,500 current cases, the Atrium MDL is pending in the District of New Hampshire. In the test case selected for trial, the plaintiff experienced infection from defective hernia mesh and had to undergo revision surgery to remove the infected device. The first bellwether case was settled and dismissed in August 2021 and the terms of that settlement are confidential. For more information, see https://www.nhd.uscourts.gov/atrium-medical-corp-c-qur-mesh-products-liability-litigation
The litigation against Covidien, a subsidiary of Medtronic, concerns reports of adverse events related to Covidien mesh products including Covidien Parietex Surgical Mesh, Covidien Parietex Composite Mesh, and Covidien Parietex ProGrip Mesh. Patients who received these mesh products reported serious defects and injuries including migrating mesh, revision surgery, pain, and infection. The Covidien litigation is smaller than the other hernia mesh lawsuits. The state litigation is taking place in Massachusetts and there are no bellwether trials currently pending.
We will continue to provide updates on the status of Hernia Mesh Litigation as these MDLs and individual cases proceed.