A federal jury has ordered that CR Bard must pay $255,000 to a hernia mesh recipient. It represents a significant victory in the Bard hernia mesh bellwether cases.
The case was selected as the second “bellwether” trial to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation against Bard, and promote potential hernia mesh settlement negotiations between the parties.
The consolidated Bard hernia mesh lawsuits have similar fact patterns concerning the failure of defective polypropylene hernia repair products sold in recent years, including Bard Ventralex, Bard Ventralight, Bard Perfix, Bard 3DMax and other mesh systems.
Following more than two weeks of testimony in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, a jury award of $255,000 was returned late Friday.
According to the verdict sheet (PDF), the jury sided with the plaintiffs on claims for negligent design defects and loss of consortium, but rejected claims involving strict product liability, negligent failure to warn, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation and gross misconduct.
The lawsuit filed by Antonio Milanesi and his wife, Alicia Morz De Milanesi, was selected by plaintiffs for the second bellwether claim and began late last month. Milanesi originally filed the lawsuit in 2018, after experiencing problems with a Bard Ventralex Hernia Patch implanted during umbilical hernia surgery in July 2007. After developing an infection and a small bowel fistula in May 2017, Milanesi underwent additional surgery to have the mesh removed. According to evidence presented at trial, the mesh adhered to a loop of the small bowel, leading to erosion and the need for a small bowel resection, anastomosis, removal of the mesh and repair of the ventral hernia, leaving Milanesi with permanent and severe injuries.
This result is good news for others who have suffered because of Bard's defective hernia mesh products. The verdict may increase the value of their cases and raise the stakes in settlement negotiations with Bard.
The next bellwether will involve a Perfix Plug case. The Bard PerFix Plug Inguinal Hernia Mesh is a woven polypropylene mesh that looks like a double layer dart with a patch overlaid, made by Bard and its subsidiary Davol Inc. The knitted design of the PerFix Plug creates small holes called pores throughout the mesh. These pores are appealing places for the body’s nerves to grow, and so they attach to the mesh soon after implantation. As the mesh erodes, crumples and balls up, sometimes migrating inside the patient, the attached nerves are pulled and stretched, causing extreme and often debilitating pain. Pain of this nature is considered essentially untreatable, as opioids are not effective for managing this nerve pain.