Before the medical world created hernia mesh devices, they used sutures to treat hernias. A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. For example, the intestines may break through a weakened area in the abdominal wall.
Due to the complicated nature of hernias, sutures alone were not enough to keep bulging organs in place. Thus, hernia meshes came as an answer and a solution to a problem that made living difficult for most people. But, unfortunately, hernia mesh devices were not without complications, leading to several lawsuits against the manufacturers.
The number of litigants demanding compensation has increased in the last few years. As a result, most of the lawsuits against hernia mesh manufacturers were listed as multi-district litigation (MDL). The MDL is an effective way of consolidating similar cases under one umbrella in the federal court system. It leads to the quick resolution of the claims by deciding on one case known as the bellwether case.
In this article, we look at hernia mesh litigation so far and where things stand now. If you suffer a negative side effect from using a hernia mesh, our mass tort lawyers at Dalimonte Rueb Stoller, LLP, can help you determine your eligibility for compensation.
What Are Hernia Mesh Lawsuits About?
Most hernia mesh lawsuits focus on the side effects after undergoing inguinal and incisional hernia repair. For inguinal hernia repair, the common problem is chronic groin pain. This problem exists whether the person undergoes an invasive surgery or laparoscopic procedure.
The complaints covered pain, erosion, recurrence, bowel obstruction, seroma, infection, and death for incisional mesh. These side effects are common complications when using mesh devices to fix the hernia at the abdominal wall. Plaintiffs in hernia mesh lawsuits also complained of the device tearing or breaking.
The complaints also stated that the mesh coating does not prevent adhesion, and the pore size isn’t right. The arguments for these lawsuits seek to determine whether these complications were avoidable or simply a known risk of using a foreign material to repair a fascial defect. Also, the plaintiffs and the defendants argue on the manufacturer’s knowledge of the risks and when they knew such risk.
Since these litigations started, only one hernia mesh lawsuit has been settled or gone to trial. While the number doesn’t say much for the over 20,000 cases filed, the hope remains that litigants will have their day in court and possibly get compensation. However, their chances of winning depend mainly on expert medical testimonies and the expertise of mass tort lawyers.
What Is the State of Hernia Mesh Litigation Now?
The pandemic in 2020 led to the closure of several courtrooms in the United States. This meant adjournment of cases, including those filed against hernia mesh manufacturers like C.R. Bard Inc. In 2021, not much happened for these cases, as courts stayed closed till about the second quarter of the year.
So, at this point, hernia mesh manufacturers are still involved in MDLs. For example, the case against Bard and its Ventralight ST mesh was revived in August 2021. Several other suits will begin trial in January 2022.
The Shocking Verdict of October 2021
The outcome of the hernia mesh lawsuits remains anyone’s guess. While cases like this often seem to favor the plaintiffs, two October 2021 judgments showed that the decision could go either way. In the lawsuit against Atrium Medical Corp., a federal court jury in Chicago found in favor of the company. The plaintiff, in that case, went home with nothing.
That same month, C.R. Bard Inc. won against a plaintiff in the first bellwether trial in Dayton, Chicago. These decisions have since caused many plaintiffs’ to question their chances of winning. However, the case against Atrium failed because the jury decided the harm suffered by the plaintiff did not result from a defective mesh but a known surgical complication.
This means that, ultimately, each case may be decided on its merits, so the judgment that applies for one may not work for another. For MDL cases, the loss of the first bellwether case may have minimal impact on the suits. It means that the plaintiffs can still win as evidenced in the Kugel Mesh litigation ten years ago. Consequently, plaintiffs can still look forward to their trials and the possibility of a settlement.
Let Us Help You!
Hernia mesh lawsuits are still ongoing, so if you believe a defective mesh harmed you, you can still file a suit against the manufacturer. However, doing this would be easier if you work with mass tort lawyers from Dalimonte Rueb Stoller, LLP. So contact us today for a free case review.