For decades, doctors have been repairing hernias with special mesh screens that reinforce the weakened tissue in the affected part of the body. Many of these hernia mesh surgeries are successful, but a certain percentage not only fail to remedy the hernia, they lead to more serious health problems in patients.
If you've suffered complications from a defective or improperly-implanted hernia mesh, you may be wondering about your legal options, and whether joining a class action lawsuit is possible. The short answer is that any lawsuit you bring is unlikely to be a class action. Instead, it will probably be an individual lawsuit that is a part of multi-district litigation, or MDL.
In a class action lawsuit , a large number of people who have been negatively affected by the same harmful action (by the same person or organization) can form a "class" in one lawsuit. One or a few claimants will act as representatives of the class, and any settlement or verdict will apply to all class members, unless they "opted out" of the class action at the outset.
In contrast, MDL is a group of individual lawsuits consolidated into a single federal district court, handled by one judge. The purpose of MDL is to improve pre-trial efficiency, especially with discovery. But another benefit of an MDL is that it can help the cases settle.
An MDL will select a handful of cases to go to "bellwether" trials which will give everyone in the MDL an idea of what they can expect in their own individual case. But if all the bellwether trials end with no settlement, then each case will leave the MDL and go back to its home court for trial.
If you decide to sue the manufacturer of your hernia mesh, you will most likely litigate your case in federal court. Your legal claims will probably revolve around personal injuries you sustained as a result of the mesh's failure to work properly. These injuries can include:
These problems can lead to extra surgeries to replace the defective mesh and repair any damage caused by the malfunctioning mesh. Learn more about the importance of getting a clear diagnosis in a hernia mesh case.
After you start your hernia mesh case, it may get sent to an existing MDL, depending on the facts of your case and the defendant you are suing. Currently, there are three major hernia mesh MDLs in the United States.
Atrium Medical Corporation C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2753
The District of New Hampshire is handling this MDL, which consists of about 2,000 cases. This MDL started in 2016 and the parties are currently scheduling the bellwether trials.
Davol/C.R. Bard, Polypropylene Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2846
Created in August 2018, this MDL consists of roughly 3,000 plaintiffs. The first bellwether trial is set for fall 2020.
Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2782
Set in the Northern District of Georgia, this MDL has around 2,500 lawsuits and the parties are still in the discovery phase of litigation. The court scheduled the initial three bellwether trials, with the first one set for late 2020.
Not all pending hernia mesh cases are part of the three MDLs described above. Some are being heard at the state level, where similar cases across various state counties can get combined into multi-county litigation, or MCL. One example is In Re: Physiomesh Litigation, MCL No. 627, in New Jersey.
Despite all this consolidation, there are still many individual cases, especially in state courts. Some of these include defendants such as Covidien and Medtronic.
Learn more about the history and latest developments regarding hernia mesh lawsuits.
With much of the hernia mesh litigation still yet to occur, almost anything is possible. However, in 2011, C.R. Bard settled its Kugel hernia mesh litigation for $184 million. The settlement applied to roughly 2,700 plaintiffs in In re: Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 1842. Learn more about settlement of a hernia mesh case.
To get a current picture of the hernia mesh litigation landscape, and a sense of where your potential claim fits in, talk to an attorney. Get tips on finding the right lawyer for you and your hernia mesh case, and understand how an attorney can help get the best result in a hernia mesh lawsuit.