Over 13,000 lawsuits have been filed against C.R. Bard over defective hernia mesh claims. Consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Columbus, Ohio, hernia mesh is currently the third-largest MDL in the country. 

One case in the MDL, Steven Johns v. CR Bard, was selected for the first bellwether trial, and began August 2 with jury selection. 

The federal product liability trial for the medical device, held in the Southern District Court of Ohio, was originally set to begin in April but was rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. As of July, 13,629 cases had been assigned to the MDL in Ohio, according to Mesh Medical Device Newsdesk.

Plaintiffs who have filed claims against C.R. Bard, a subsidiary of Becton, Dickinson and Co., have alleged that Bard’s four mesh devices—Ventralex, Ventralight, Prefix, and 3D Max—caused either pain, inflammation and/or infection. 

Johns alleged in his complaint that a patch of Ventralight ST he had surgically implanted in 2015 to repair an abdominal hernia caused him persistent and debilitating pain, Reuters reported. 

A resident of Utah, Johns required additional surgery to fix the faulty mesh. The plaintiff then had two additional hernias diagnosed and underwent a third surgery to correct the  recurrence. 

After having the original, allegedly defective Ventralight ST removed, Johns had another patch of Ventralight ST implanted. However, he faces additional surgeries for pain and complications, according to Mesh Medical Device Newsdesk.

In his claim, Johns also alleged he has experienced emotional distress as a result of the defective medical product. 

The Ventralight ST contains a coating designed to prevent the mesh from adhering to bodily tissue. But Johns’ complaint alleged that the Ventralight ST, which has remained on the market, is defective and “unreasonably dangerous” in part because the coating did in fact stick to bodily tissue. Johns’ complaint also maintains that the mesh coating is toxic. 

In addition to the 13,000 lawsuits Bard faces in the Ohio MDL, the company faces over 12,000 hernia mesh lawsuits filed in state courts. 

Every year in the United States, over one million hernia repair surgeries are performed. Up to one-third of hernia repairs may come with complications, claims Mesh Medical Device Newsdesk. 

This could mean that thousands more hernia mesh lawsuits could be added to the MDL in Ohio as well as two other mesh MDLs, one in Atlanta and one in New Hampshire. The Atlanta MDL concerns Ethicon’s physiomesh while the New Hampshire MDL covers Atrium Medical’s hernia mesh. 

In 2011, Bard escaped litigation of 2,600 hernia mesh lawsuits over an earlier mesh product with a settlement of $184 million.