Litigation over C.R. Bard’s allegedly-defective hernia repair mesh products may be closer to an end after a judge appointed a settlement master. 

U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus, Jr., who is overseeing nearly 17,000 consolidated hernia mesh lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation (MDL), issued a case management order on August 17, stating that he had appointed John Jackson as a settlement master to work with plaintiff’s attorneys and legal defense to discover whether an agreement can be reached between the parties. 

The litigation centers around certain polypropylene-derived hernia mesh repair medical products, including Bard’s Ventralex, Ventralight, Perfix, and 3DMaxeach. The plaintiffs have sued Bard over claims that the company’s hernia mesh products were defectively designed and caused them to develop painful complications. Bard is one of three medical device companies facing hernia mesh lawsuits.

Judge Sargus, Jr.’s order was announced less than two weeks before a recent jury trial found Bard liable for damages. On August 29, a jury awarded nearly $5 million to a plaintiff from Hawaii. The jury found Bard and its subsidiary Davol responsible for injuries to Paul Trevino, a municipal worker who claimed Bard’s hernia mesh kit was defective and the company failed to warn consumers about the alleged defects. 

Trevino’s trial is not part of the federal MDL. His was one of thousands of similar lawsuits filed in Rhode Island state court. 

If Jackson fails to bring the parties together to reach an agreement, the lawsuits will be remanded to federal district courts in 2023. Two MDLs are scheduled for next year, one in February and the other in May. Due to the Trevino verdict, plaintiffs are likely to be in a more advantageous bargaining position. 

On July 16, Judge Sargus ruled that the 2nd Bard hernia mesh bellwether trial verdict would stand, leaving an April $250,000 jury award for Antonio Milanesi. Milanesi’s attorneys argued that the award was not large enough, while Bard claimed that the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence. 

Bard was cleared of liability in the first bellwether MDL trial, which was tried in 2021.