Thousands of individuals have filed Bard mesh lawsuits against Bard and its corporate subsidiary, Davol. The Bard Hernia Mesh litigation, is currently pending in Rhode Island state court, as well as in federal court, in the Southern District of Ohio. The Rhode Island state court litigation began in late 2017, while the federal court litigation in Ohio was only formed in August 2018. Because both litigations are still relatively young, the litigations are expected to continue throughout at least 2019, if not longer.
Currently, there are two trials scheduled in the Rhode Island state court litigation in 2019 – one in June and one in September; although those dates are tentative and may be subject to change. These initial trials are called bellwether trials. A bellwether case is selected through a lengthy process in the courts to be tried as, essentially, a “test case” to help anticipate the outcome of future similar cases. It would not be feasible for the courts to address the thousands of cases filed across the country, so the cases are consolidated for pretrial purposes. Multiple cases are then selected as bellwether cases to potentially be tried, in hopes that an eventual global settlement may be reached between the parties. If settlement is not reached, then the cases may be remanded back to the plaintiff’s home state to be worked up for trial.
It is important to remember that these bellwether trials are very time-consuming, complex, and expensive to prepare. Plaintiffs must first convince a jury that the hernia mesh product was defective and then that the defect caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Before plaintiffs can get to a jury, several millions of pages of documents from Bard must be reviewed; many fact and expert witness depositions need to be conducted; multiple expert reports need to be drafted; and pretrial and trial motions must be briefed and argued. It is a difficult process, but it is a process that plaintiffs’ counsel is dedicated to pursuing to a successful conclusion.
The Bard Hernia Mesh litigation is proceeding simultaneously with hernia mesh litigations across the country, concerning other manufacturers and their hernia mesh products. These include claims against manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon over Physiomesh and other hernia mesh products, as well as claims against manufacturer Atrium over C-Qur hernia mesh products.