Federal courts have placed a significant number of hernia mesh lawsuits under MDLs—most recently a Georgia judge was assigned to preside over the cases.
When there are a large number of lawsuits against the same manufacturer, and the cases all allege roughly the same misconduct with similar resulting injuries, multi-district litigation can be the best way to get through the cases in the quickest, most efficient way possible. MDLs make the process much more efficient, particularly in cases which are especially complex or multi-faceted.
Before an MDL can be established, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation must decide whether a consolidation is warranted, and if the answer to that question is “yes,” then the decision of where to try the case must be made. When there are hundreds or thousands of similar cases against the same manufacturer, wading through those cases could bog down the judicial system for years and years. MDLs allow the “wheels of justice” to turn more quickly for those who have been injured through the negligence of a manufacturer.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has seven federal judges, each from a different judicial circuit. This panel determines whether individual lawsuits which involve similar issues should be moved from a number of courts to one federal district court—into an MDL. Some states, like California, also have a similar mechanism as the MDL, known as multicounty litigation. Just like an MDL, either the U.S. Judicial Panel or a state high court will make the decision to transfer cases to the state court level. Typically, the type of cases which are consolidated into a state multicounty court or an MDL include drug and other product liability cases, airplane and train crashes, securities fraud, and patent validity and infringement.
Many high-profile cases have been consolidated into an MDL, such as the transvaginal mesh litigation which has more than 30,000 cases, in six different MDLs, or the BP oil spill litigation in Louisiana, involving actions filed by Gulf Coast states, individual plaintiffs and the U.S. Department of Justice. MDL and multicounty state cases almost always involve from several dozen to thousands of cases. One of the most complex, long-running MDL cases in U.S. history involves the asbestos injury litigation which has been pending for more than two decades.
Plaintiffs almost always benefit from a consolidation of their case, as processing a case through MDL or consolidated action in state court increases the chances of a uniform verdict. If each hernia mesh lawsuit was tried independently, not only would it take years to hear all the cases, it is also likely that some consumers would receive more while others would receive considerably less, or even nothing. As of late 2017, the following MDLs existed for hernia mesh cases:
- Atrium Mesh C-Qur product cases were consolidated into a New Hampshire federal court MDL with at least 30 cases pending.
- Ethicon’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh case lawsuits were consolidated into a Georgia MDL with at least 436 cases pending.
- Bard Davol’s Kugel Patch were among the first hernia mesh cases to be consolidated. The Kugel Patch was recalled in 2005, after it was found that Kugel Patch recipients developed fistulas and bowel perforations. Eventually, more than 3,000 cases were filed against Bard. In June 2011, Bard offered $184 million to settle 2,600 Kugel Patch lawsuits, and by September 2017—ten years after it began—the Kugel Hernia Mesh Patch MDL closed.
Class Action Hernia Mesh Cases
There have also been class action hernia mesh cases, which differ from MDLs in a few ways, most notably that the cases are not tried individually, and that if there is a settlement, everyone in the class action receives the same share of the settlement, regardless of severity of injuries. In 2014, C.R. Bard agreed to a $1.375 million settlement for a Kugel Patch class action lawsuit. Unfortunately, those that join in a class action lawsuit give up their right to later file an individual lawsuit against the manufacturer which harmed them.
J & J Physiomesh Hernia Mesh MDL
The J & J and Ethicon Physiomesh MDL is somewhat unique, in that while many MDLs deal with hundreds of cases at most, there could potentially be thousands of cases filed against J & J/Ethicon. So, while MDLs certainly do speed up the process, it is likely to take a significant length of time for a judge to hear all the Physiomesh cases unless J & J makes the decision to settle the cases.
About Hernia Mesh
Hernia repair is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States. Although surgeons have been using implantable mesh for nearly five decades to repair hernias, the problem lies in the fact that the mesh is constructed of polypropylene—a substance which is not appropriate for permanent implantation, as it can cause infection, erosion, adhesions and inflammation. The reason mesh manufacturers continue to use polypropylene—even though they are fully aware of the dangers—is so they can go under the FDA’s “fast-track” approval process known as the 510(k).
This effectively allows the manufacturers to claim their product is substantially similar to one that is already on the market, obtaining a fast approval, and, of course, larger revenues. In other words, although mesh manufacturers could certainly have come up with a better, safer way to construct the hernia mesh, instead they chose to coat the polypropylene with a polymer, or Omega-3—substances which have their own set of problems and safety issues.
Mississippi Hernia Mesh Cases
While the state of Mississippi does not have a state consolidated court, if you have suffered an injury related to a hernia mesh implant, it is important that you speak to an experienced Mississippi product liability attorney who can help you get your hernia mesh case filed quickly. Whether your case eventually ends up in an MDL, or remains on its own, will depend on your specific situation, your location, and other factors.
At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for injured Mississippi hernia mesh victims – to ensure that they receive the money they need to fully recover. We can help you obtain the money you need to fully recover. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at (601) 265-7766, (601) 265-7766 or click on the button below.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.