Covidien Mesh Lawsuits and Potential Multi-District Litigation
With thousands of claims in state court and 73 cases filed in federal courts pertaining to its hernia mesh device, Covidien again seeks to consolidate claims into a multi-district litigation (MDL).
In June of 2020, the manufacturer’s request for the creation of an MDL was denied, as there had only been 12 lawsuits for Covidien hernia mesh filed. A the time, the JPML (Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation) rejected their request based on the low number of cases. The Covidien now states that lawsuits and claims are significantly increasing in number. Covidien claims that there have been more than 70 lawsuits filed in the federal court system, covering 7 different United States District courts.
Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Involve Injuries Caused By the Mesh
The Covidien hernia mesh lawsuits relate to injuries allegedly caused by the product. Common injuries include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Bowel perforation
- Device migration
- Mesh failure
Covidien asserts that their hernia mesh is safe and effective for use. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits allege that Covidien knew of the potential risks and did not provide adequate warnings to the surgeons and patients. Covidien has responded to these allegations by saying that it is not liable for the injuries sustained by their product and that the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit.
Multi-District Litigation of Hernia Mesh Claims Create Judicial Efficiencies
The manufacturer argues that the hernia mesh injury claims are all based upon similar issues of law and fact. As a result, they look to form an MDL before a single Federal District Judge in order to consolidate the action, avoid duplicative discovery, and avoid conflicting rulings between courts. Additionally, consolidation would alleviate the burdens on the court system as a whole.
Additionally, Covidien states that it had tolling agreements with over 6 thousand potential claimants. In a tolling agreement, the parties agree to delay the commencement of the lawsuit during negotiations, and the claimants’ rights are preserved and not subject to lapse by applicable statutes of limitations.
As these tolling agreements begin to expire, thousands of lawsuits are expected to be filed for substantially similar claims and injuries involving the same devices.
More than 4,000 Hernia Mesh Claims Filed in Massachusetts State Courts
To date, Covidien has been served in more than 4,000 state court claims in Massachusetts where the company is headquartered. As most of the plaintiffs are not Massachusetts residents, Covidien intends to move to dismiss those claims regarding its hernia mesh products, which may lead to claimants filing in federal courts.
Federal Courts Often Consolidate Product Liability Litigation
Multi-District Litigation allows federal courts to consolidate actions, including those involving medical devices where similar alleged injuries, device issues, and questions of law arise. Rather than litigating thousands of cases – and potentially receiving conflicting outcomes – the courts may approve the formation of an MDL to address these issues en masse.
The Courts Have Consolidated Hernia Mesh Litigations Previously
In the past, at least 3 MDL’s were formed involving hernia mesh claims. An MDL was formed for the Bard hernia mesh litigation involving over 15,000 claimants. Similarly, an MDL was created for 3,600 claimants regarding Ethicon Physiomesh. Finally, an MDL was established for 3,200 claimants regarding Atrium C-Qur.
Covidien Seeks Consolidation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
The manufacturer, Covidien, seeks to consolidate the actions in Massachusetts, where the company is located and where all but six cases had been filed.
Approval of a Hernia Mesh MDL Would Allow Litigation Over “Bellwether” Cases
If the Covidien mesh lawsuits are consolidated, a handful of prominent “bellwether” cases will be chosen for trial dates by the U.S. District Judge who will preside over the proceedings.
This would assist the court and parties in determining how juries will respond to the evidence about the Covidien device’s alleged design flaws.
Plaintiffs are not bound by the results of the bellwether trials. However, the aim of most parties is to avoid the expense and time involved in hundreds or thousands of individual trials.
Have You Been Injured by Covidien Hernia Mesh or Any Hernia Mesh Products?
If you or a loved one has been injured by Covidien hernia mesh products, or any other hernia mesh product, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free, no obligation case review.
We fight for victims and help them secure the compensation they deserve. Call us at 800-403-6191 to discuss your situation and whether you have a claim for your injuries.