Image: Hernia mesh lawsuit timeline

If you’re a potential plaintiff who has been a victim of defective hernia mesh devices, it’s only normal to ask how long your lawsuit will take before it goes to trial.

After all, the past years have seen a steady increase in hernia mesh lawsuits filed due to complications arising from mesh failure. As there are thousands of cases and they all tend to be complex, it may take quite a long time to settle a hernia mesh lawsuit.

It’s worth noting, however, that no two cases are alike. Therefore, the amount of time cases will take before settlement may vary greatly depending on several factors involved.

Read on to learn more about how your lawsuit will probably take off and what process it will go through.

What is a hernia mesh lawsuit?

A hernia mesh lawsuit is a legal claim filed against manufacturers of surgical mesh by plaintiffs who suffered from injuries and complications after receiving a defectively designed hernia mesh.

Here are the things that hernia mesh lawsuits claim:

  • Defective product design or manufacturing
  • Failure to adequately warn patients and doctors about the risks associated with the device, like mesh failure and other complications
  • Medical malpractice committed by the doctor who implanted the mesh device

Patients are also suing manufacturers to seek compensation for the following damages:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Pain and suffering

Current Status

As of September 2021, over 20,000 lawsuits were pending against Atrium Medical Corp., Ethicon, and Davol Inc./C.R. Bard. Hundreds more are also pending in state courts across the United States.

The first hernia mesh bellwether trial in August 2021 ended with a defense win for C.R. Bard and Davol Inc. after a short jury deliberation. The MDL class action judge set the next hernia mesh trial date to be on January 10, 2022.

Hopefully, the upcoming trial will result in a betetr outcome for the plaintiffs.

Why do people get hernia mesh?

An estimated one million hernia surgeries are performed each year in the United States. A hernia occurs when a tissue or an internal organ protrudes through a weak place in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue that usually contains it.

As part of the surgical procedure to fix a hernia, surgeons often use hernia mesh or surgical mesh. It is a medical device that’s meant to support damaged tissue around a hernia to prevent it from coming back.

Hernias can be caused by increased pressure on the abdomen. Activities that can result in abdominal pressure include lifting heavy objects, constant coughing or sneezing, obesity, constipation, diarrhea, and even pregnancy.

Weak muscles can also lead to hernia. In fact, in most cases, the condition results from a combination of pressure and weak muscles.

The common yet major surgery used to treat hernia is called hernia repair. During hernia surgery, the displaced organ is returned to its original position and the weakened area of tissue is fixed.

However, in several patients, this procedure has resulted in a plethora of injuries and complications.

Injuries Associated With The Device

Most synthetic mesh products that have been on the market since 2005 were approved through the 510(k) clearance process. It is a fast-track program that can rush products onto the market.

This means that the majority of these devices were manufactured and marketed with little evidence that can prove their safety. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the sale of thousands of defective mesh products.

Many of these implants are known to fail due to design defects. For countless patients, this led to severe complications that even required revision surgery to fix.

Some of the most commonly reported hernia mesh complications include:

  • Mesh adhesion.┬áSurgical mesh implants stick to other tissues and organs in the body.
  • Pain and discomfort. A patient can experience pain even years after hernia surgery. In the case that the pain lasts for several months or years, it may lead to nerve damage or chronic inflammation.
  • Infection. Minor infections may occur around the incision site. In some cases, however, it chronic infections can cause redness and warmth in the area of surgery.
  • Bowel obstruction. If the hernia mesh moves inside the body, it can block the bowels.
  • Organ perforation. The surgical mesh punctures other organs or tissues during migration.
  • Mesh failure. The implant failed to keep your organs and tissues in place. This can cause pain and hernias to come back. The defective mesh must be removed.
  • Hernia recurrence. One of the most common hernia mesh complications is hernias coming back due to mesh failure.

Manufacturers Named In Lawsuits

The first hernia mesh recall was issued in 2005 by Davol Inc., a subsidiary of C.R. Bard. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken several hernia mesh products from the market. Reasons for the recalls ranged from poor performance to packaging errors and adverse events related to the devices.

Hernia mesh manufacturers that were named in lawsuits include:

  • Atrium Medical Corporation
  • Bard Davol (C.R. Bard and Davol Inc.)
  • Ethicon Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson

Atrium Medical manufactures several C-QUR hernia mesh products. It is composed of a unique fish-oil-derived coating. Studies link these products to high infection rates compared to other meshes.

In 2013, the company recalled 145,000 of its C-QUR units after citing packaging problems. People have reported complications such as adhesion and infection caused by these products to the FDA.

On the other hand, hernia mesh manufacturer C.R. Bard and its subsidiary, Davol Inc., were targeted by plaintiffs because of their Kugel hernia mesh patches.

The device was made of polypropylene and has a ring around the mesh. In certain instances, this ring would break. Once this happens, the polypropylene material would shrink to a size that’s smaller than the ring. This would expose the mesh, causing it to break and leading to organ or bowel perforation.

Lastly, Ethicon Inc. was notorious for its Physiomesh product. The company pulled all units of Physiomesh off the global market in 2016 after the implant was linked to higher rates of hernia recurrence and revision surgery compared to similar products.

The Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Process

After the patient has hired a lawyer, the typical hernia mesh lawsuit begins with the injured person, now the plaintiff, filing a civil complaint in court. The process will ideally end in a settlement or jury verdict.

Here are some of the basics in filing a hernia mesh lawsuit:

  1. The injured plaintiff files a complaint in court. The complaint describes the plaintiff’s claims against the hernia mesh manufacturer.
  2. The manufacturer, now the defendant, files a response to the complaint.
  3. Both sides exhange information, including medical records, documents, and other evidence in the discovery process.
  4. Pre-trial motions are filed to allow or dismiss arguments and evidence
  5. Trial takes place.

The abovelisted steps are just a snapshot of the whole process of filing your lawsuit. It’s worth noting that hernia mesh lawsuits are more complex than the average personal injury matter like one stemming from a car accident.

With that said, there are several factors that may influence the length of time it may take for your lawsuit to settle.

Factors That Affect The Time It Takes For A Hernia Mesh Case To Settle

The time it takes for your lawsuit to settle may depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Your individual case
  • The problems you experienced
  • The overall preparation of documents and evidence involved
  • Your surgeon’s track record
  • Your lawyer
  • How willing the manufacturer is to settle a claim

As mentioned, hernia mesh cases are often more complicated compared to other personal injury lawsuits. So whether you’re claiming that your hernia mesh implant was defective, or that your surgeon committed medical malpractice, hernia mesh cases are notoriously complicated.

This is because these cases usually require significant amounts of time to sift through your medical records as well as careful research on the allegedly defective mesh product that was used for your surgery.

There are also multiple expert witnesses to hear on both sides of the case.

This is why hernia mesh lawsuits can take years to settle, often between three to seven years.

Take, for instance, the first lawsuits against Bard’s Kugel hernia mesh patches that were first consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) two years after the products were taken off the market. An MDL is a procedure in which federal cases from across the country are transferred to one court.

In this case, it was only in 2010 when the first Kugel Patch bellwether trials occurred.

Recently, federal courts have been placing several hernia mesh lawsuits under MDLs to speed up the process of handling these complex cases. Hopefully, this would also mean faster and fairer justice for individuals who suffered from injuries due to mesh failure.

Hernia Mesh Settlement Amounts

To date, none of the new lawsuits in active MDLs against Atrium, Bard, and Ethicon have been settled so we don’t know how much these hernia mesh cases will exactly be worth.

However, in the past, there were instances where companies were ordered to pay compensation to plaintiffs.

For example, in 2018, Atrium Medical Corporation was forced to pay $11 million to resolve around 3,000 hernia mesh lawsuits. On the other hand, in 2011, Bard Davol settled 2,600 Kugel hernia mesh lawsuits for $184 million.

For now, however, because each case is unique, it’s hard to give an estimate on hernia mesh settlement amounts. There are, however, some factors that may influence a hernia mesh lawsuit settlement, including:

  • Severity of the injuries
  • Quality of life
  • Economic impact (medical bills, surgeries, lost wages, etc.)
  • Future loss of capacity to earn money

The Bottom Line

Hernia mesh lawsuits claim that the medical devices are defectively designed and these defects caused serious injuries in countless patients. These lawsuits also claim that the manufacturers of hernia mesh implants failed to properly warn medical providers and patients of serious adverse events due to mesh failure.

The process of filing a hernia mesh lawsuit usually begins in the injured patient filing a complaint in the court. Ideally, the process should end in a settlement or jury verdict. However, as hernia mesh cases are more complex compared to other personal injury matters, they can take years before they settle or go to trial.

To date, the largest hernia mesh lawsuit settlement amount is $184 million paid by manufacturer C.R. Bard to resolve around 3,000 cases in 2011.

Why should you file a hernia mesh lawsuit?

If you or a loved one suffered from severe complications and injuries due to a defective medical device like hernia mesh, you may have a case against the manufacturers of these products.

Thousands of people have already filed hernia mesh lawsuits to seek compensation for damages, including medical expenses, loss of quality of life, pain, and suffering, among others.

More importantly, however, a patient filing a hernia mesh case means seeking justice against those who harmed them or a loved one by causing them to suffer from several side effects and injuries caused by these medical devices.

Looking at the bigger picture, it is the duty of any citizen to stop those who prioritize profits over the safety of the public from repeating this cycle over and over again. Many pharmaceutical companies like the hernia mesh manufacturers named in thousands of lawsuits aim to have their products approved the easy way, even if it means skipping rigorous testing requirements.

As a result, thousands of defective devices make it into the market. Ultimately, patients suffer the consequences as they’re made to endure debilitating injuries after receiving the products. We know it can be frustrating to suffer from these injuries and be a potential plaintiff who’s thinking of pursuing legal action against abusive manufacutrers.

But that’s where we come in — we’re here to take that stress off of you. We can assist you in finding a reliable hernia mesh lawyer who will help you fight for your rights. You can contact us today to know more about your legal options on the hernia mesh litigation.

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