What’s Going on With Hernia Mesh Lawsuits?
The latest numbers in the lawsuits against Ethicon, Atrium Medical Corp., and Davol Inc./C.R. Bard reveal 20,613 lawsuits. Ohio, New Hampshire, and Georgia are the states where federal lawsuits are currently filed. Meanwhile, hundreds of other state lawsuits are pending across the country.
COVID-19 has impacted the scheduling of the first bellwether trials several times. Still, August 2021 saw the first such trial end in a defense victory. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the other trials have been postponed indefinitely.
Status of Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
The trial of Antonio Milanesi v. C.R. Bard was scheduled to begin on January 10, 2022. However, Judge Edmund A. Sargus, the judge presiding over MDL 2846, postponed the trial.
Antonio Milanesi v. C.R. Bard is expected to be one of the largest lawsuits brought against the defendants. A new date of March 22, 2022, has been set for this trial to commence.
Hernia Mesh Settlements 2021
The hernia mesh lawsuits have been going on for years-plaintiffs hoping for financial compensation for their pain and suffering have been waiting for a very long time. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed progress even further.
With courts looking to move back toward some semblance of normalcy, trials are expected to begin in the coming months. The outcomes of these trials may influence the defense’s decision to speed up settlement talks or stick to their guns and push for more trials.
The summer of 2022, is expected to see progress made on all three MDL fronts. All eyes are on the second Bard trial that was expected to begin in January 2022. Based on past cases, if this trial results in a sizable verdict for the plaintiff, Bard may be more open to settlement talks. Bard settled all pending cases after the company was brought to trial twice for a similar MDL involving another faulty medical product.
Hernia Mesh Settlement Amounts
A settlement is a financial payment to a plaintiff by the defense. When a plaintiff accepts a settlement, they give up their right to take the defense to a trial. Therefore, one major advantage of a settlement for each party is time saved.
While a court verdict may come with a larger payout, trials are also inherently unpredictable. After spending money and time in litigation, the plaintiff may walk away with nothing to show for their efforts. An out-of-court settlement gives the plaintiff a definitive financial payment without the risk of a lengthy and costly trial. Likewise, by offering a settlement, the defense avoids a costly trial with the possibility of a larger financial hit.
Thus far, hernia mesh settlements have seen an average of $50,000 to $250,000. Depending on the plaintiff’s injury severity, they could see a settlement in the range of $100,000.
Ethicon Physiomesh (A Johnson Johnson Company)
Roughly 42,000 hernia mesh lawsuits were brought against the Johnson Johnson company called Ethicon. Plaintiffs claimed the company’s Physiomesh caused complications, including infection and chronic pain. As a result, many victims had to have revision surgery. According to DrugWatch, Johnson Johnson settled the cases in 2016 with payouts totaling $120 million.
Boston Scientific Lawsuits
As reported by Reuters, the company Boston Scientific paid $34.6 million in 2014 to settle two cases after the company smuggled materials from China to manufacture hernia mesh. The erosion of the mesh resulted in severe issues, including vaginal scarring, chronic pain, and other issues.
A large portion of the settlement amount from these two cases was in the form of punitive damages. The company was hit with stiff damages to discourage them from taking such action again in the future.
Lawsuits Involving C.R. Bard
Of the three defendants involved in the current crop of hernia mesh failure cases, Bard has a history with litigation involving the same kind of product. For example, mass tort claims were brought against the company in 2011 for defective hernia mesh, as chronicled in a recent Reuters article.
Erosion after implantation caused serious issues for the 2,600 plaintiffs seeking financial compensation from the company. Bard settled these cases with payouts totaling $184 million.
However, that wasn’t the end of Bard’s legal woes. In 2015, the company settled another 3,000 cases with financial compensation totaling $119 million. The company then compensated another 3,000 plaintiffs by paying $200 million.
What is the Average Payout for a Hernia Mesh Lawsuit?
It is impossible to say for certain what an exact payout might be in a hernia mesh settlement. Several factors will influence the outcome of your case. For example, your settlement will partially depend on the severity of your injury. Was the quality of your life affected? What were your medical expenses?
Still, looking at the history of these lawsuits can paint a picture of a possible settlement range. For example, if you settle a hernia mesh lawsuit out of court, some Mass Tort attorneys estimate your settlement might be between $3,000 and $1,000,000.
That’s a wide range. In recent years, with similar products, the payouts have averaged between $40,000 to $60,000.
Endo International Lawsuits
In cases involving defective hernia mesh in the last 10 years, the company Endo International has paid sizable settlements. According to Reuters reporting, the company has paid approximately $2.6 billion in settlement compensation to plaintiffs suffering from their faulty hernia mesh:
- 2013: Endo International settled 7,700 cases by paying out $54 million in compensation.
- 2014:Endo International paid $830 million to 20,000 plaintiffs. The company also paid another $400 million to compensate an additional 10,000 plaintiffs.
Past settlements do not guarantee compensation amounts for current cases. Still, rough estimates can be made by looking at past settlements involving faulty hernia mesh.
Have There Been Any Hernia Mesh Settlements?
Of the three MDL lawsuits involving Ethicon, Atrium Medical Corp., and Davol Inc./C.R. Bard, only one has gone to trial. None of the cases in these three MDLs have been settled.
The second bellwether case that was scheduled to begin on January 10, 2022, has been rescheduled to resume on March 22, 2022. All eyes will be on this case as it is expected to be one of the biggest litigation cases of the current three MDLs.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Hernia Mesh Case?
In 1957, medical practitioners began using hernia mesh for hernia surgeries. Failures and injuries resulting from the use of hernia mesh have seen thousands of cases brought against manufacturers in recent years. Unfortunately, medical cases of this kind often take a long time to settle. The details of each case, including the injuries plaintiffs suffered, are unique and varied in each case.
Medical cases inherently require more preparation and research-this takes time and money. Preparing for a medical product liability case has many more moving parts than a regular personal injury case.
Additionally, it can be several years before the manufacturers are willing to discuss settlement possibilities. This is partially due to the manufacturers using legal strategies to stall lawsuit efforts. Many companies believe that by dragging things out, plaintiffs will run out of money to continue litigating.
Factors That Can Affect Your Settlement Timeline
The details of your case will heavily influence how long you can expect to wait for a settlement. Your injuries and the amount of suffering you endured can factor into settlement details. Your surgeon and their hospital’s track record may also come into play. The effectiveness of your Mass Tort Lawsuit attorney is another determining factor in the timeline of your settlement.
Ultimately, product manufacturers often elect to try several individual cases before making any decisions about broad settlement. If the manufacturers see favorable results in court, this often encourages them to continue trying individual cases.
However, if several of these cases result in significant plaintiff victories, a company may be more willing to discuss settlements to minimize further financial and reputational damage.
Class Action Cases vs. Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)
In a class action, individual cases are filed and tried in groups. Depending on the trial result, everyone in the group receives the same financial settlement amount.
These kinds of cases typically settle in one to three years. On very rare occasions, a class action case may resolve in less than a year.
The courts have recently been adding cases to the three-MDL umbrella in an attempt to speed up justice for the victims in these cases. These lawsuits are often settled faster than class actions.
Patients who suffered an injury after hernia surgery involving hernia mesh are eligible to file suit against the manufacturers if they meet certain criteria. For example, patients who needed at least one additional surgery to correct their complications are eligible.
Some plaintiffs required multiple surgeries. Others claim that even after multiple surgeries, they are still suffering complications.
How to Know if You Are Eligible
Read the list below carefully. If you are affected by one or more of the complications listed, you may be entitled to compensation if your doctor told you that you needed corrective surgery:
- Adhesion: The mesh material of the implant stuck to other tissue and/or internal organs.
- Pain: You may experience severe discomfort that lasts several months or even years after the initial hernia mesh surgery. Pain lasting such a long time can lead to inflammation or nerve damage.
- Bowel Obstruction: The hernia mesh blocks the bowel, as it either adheres to the intestine or moves around.
- Infection: Infection may stem from any chronic inflammation around or near the mesh.
- Mesh Failure: The mesh has to be removed after causing problems. Issues include pain and a recurrence of the hernia.
- Migration: The hernia mesh makes its way to other parts of your body.
- Tissues or Organs Perforated: As the mesh moves around your body, it punctures your other organs or tissue.
- Seromas: Your surgery site suffers pockets of fluid buildup.
- Recurrence of Hernia: If your mesh fails, your hernia may return.
- Revision Surgery: If the defective mesh must be removed, you have to undergo additional surgery to correct complications.
- Long-Term Complications: Not all problems or complications present themselves immediately. Some issues crop up years after the initial surgery.
- Testicular Discomfort: Pinched nerves at your surgery site may cause you to feel a burning sensation.
Causes of Legal Action
Sufferers of complications stemming from hernia mesh failure have three potential causes of legal action against the mesh manufacturers:
- Defective design
- Manufacturing defects
- Failure to warn
Factors of Compensation Claims
If you have suffered complications from surgery with defective hernia mesh, your possible compensation is determined by several factors:
- Economic Losses: Correcting complications stemming from faulty hernia mesh can involve several surgeries. Medical bills from these surgeries can quickly become overwhelming, in addition to any wages you lose during the recovery period. If you are the primary wage earner in your household, the bills from your surgeries and recovery time keeping you out of work can be catastrophic.
- Non-Economic Losses: Some damages are not financial but instead cause harm to your lifestyle. For example, there is the emotional stress and physical pain of dealing with the complications from hernia mesh surgery. Some clients also assert they have difficulty eating after their surgery. Others have claimed they suffered sexual problems stemming from the defective hernia mesh and the complications it caused.
- Punitive Damages: In the event of a verdict against the defense, punitive damages are financial penalties above and beyond the compensation for the plaintiff’s hardships. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and prevent them from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
Speak to an Experienced Mass Tort Attorney Today
What seems like a clear-cut case of negligence can be obscured by skilled courtroom advocates for the defense. If you believe you are the victim of faulty hernia mesh by the companies of Ethicon, Atrium Medical Corp., or Davol Inc./C.R. Bard, you may want to consult with a skilled attorney.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation.