Posts in Defective Devices

Defective Devices

Court Recognizes Need to Preserve Mesh Evidence for Trial

June 25, 2018 Defective Devices 0 Comments

surgical mesh

In the ongoing Ethicon Physiomesh hernia mesh litigation in Georgia, the court has entered an order directing that surgical evidence including mesh material and plaintiff tissue be saved for lawsuit purposes. The May 28, 2018, order can affect hundreds of plaintiffs with pending claims against Ethicon in the litigation.

Duty to preserve evidence in hernia mesh litigation

Even without a court order, both before and during lawsuits, parties generally have the duty to preserve items or documents that reasonably could be used as evidence. What makes this type of order different is that it affects non-parties.

When Ethicon claimants have vaginal mesh material removed, the hospitals are not typically parties to the case and they follow their own procedures on discarding medical waste. However, the Georgia Ethicon multi district litigation (or “MDL”) order allows lawsuit participants to direct the hospital to preserve related materials as evidence.

This is not the first time a court has ordered the preservation of mesh evidence. For example, in 2014, the West Virginia Ethicon MDL over transvaginal mesh injuries, Judge Joseph Goodwin ordered that tissues and other surgical materials including anything purported to be mesh or bodily tissue excised from the site. The order instructs hospitals to refrain from destroying the materials and instead to turn it over for preservation as evidence.

MDL orders affect Louisiana mesh plaintiffs

Hernia mesh lawsuits follow the pattern that many dangerous drug lawsuits follow. Rather than be litigated as class-action lawsuits, where one class representative litigates the case on behalf of the rest of the class of affected individuals, individual lawsuits are combined in multi-district litigation, or MDL.

In MDL, cases from across the country can be transferred to another jurisdiction for administration. So an order in the Georgia MDL can be binding on Louisiana plaintiffs who file mesh lawsuits that have been assigned to that MDL.

Thousands of hernia mesh lawsuits are ongoing

Over 3,000 hernia mesh lawsuits have been across the country filed alleging physical problems like adhesions, infection, pain, fever, intestinal blockage, and mesh migration. More than 1,300 of the lawsuits have been combined in MDL and are still early in the litigation process. The first hernia mesh MDL lawsuits are expected to go to trial in 2019.

Help for mesh victims in Louisiana

Unfortunately, when it comes to defective medical products, the injuries are often not immediately apparent but laws limit how long those who are injured have to file a lawsuit. If you believe you have experienced complications because of a pelvic mesh implant, there is no time to waste but we are here to help.

Attorney Bart Bernard is committed to helping people in Louisiana by holding dangerous medical device manufacturers accountable. Call today to schedule a consultation in Lafayette or Baton Rouge to discuss whether filing a hernia mesh lawsuit is right for you.

Additional hernia mesh lawsuit resources:

  1. United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, In RE: Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation,
  2. United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, MDL 2327 Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation,

How Much is My Hernia Mesh Case Worth?

May 1, 2017 Defective Devices 0 Comments

us-supreme-court-low-725x543Chronic pain, severe infections, bowel obstruction, perforations and adhesions are just some of the life-altering complications associated with hernia mesh implants. Over the past several years, hundreds of Americans have filed claims alleging that hernia mesh devices produced by Ethicon, C.R. Bard, Atrium and other manufacturers were defective and sold without adequate warning.

Due to the high rate of serious health complications and hernia recurrence, multiple mesh implants have been recalled from the market, including Ethicon’s Physiomesh inserts. At present, courtrooms across the country have been inundated with hernia mesh lawsuits in which plaintiffs are demanding monetary compensation for their injuries, hospital bills, corrective surgeries, pain, suffering and other losses.

One of the most commonly asked questions by claimants who are awaiting their day in court is “how much is my hernia mesh case worth?” While previous hernia mesh litigation suggest a broad range of possible outcomes (Kugel mesh settlements averaged $70,000 per plaintiff and a separate trial resulted in a $1.5 million dollar verdict), the amount of compensation recovered will depend on the specific circumstances of each case.  The following are some factors that will affect the potential value of your case.

The value of your hernia mesh case

First, it’s important to understand the types of damages available to plaintiffs in product liability litigation.  These include:

  • Compensatory damages: This compensation is intended to reimburse plaintiffs for their actual hospital and medical expenses (both current and future) lost income, and future lost earning potential.
  • Pain and suffering: Physical pain resulting from the injury, including aches and pains, discomfort, scarring, and limitations on normal activity
  • Loss of consortium: When one spouse is deprived of the love, affection, comfort and other normal family relationship due to their partner’s injury
  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant if it is determined that they acted with reckless or wanton behavior that intentionally caused harm.

In order to determine the potential value of a hernia mesh case, your attorney will evaluate the following elements:

  • The type of hernia mesh device used -Was the device recalled by the FDA or voluntarily pulled off the market by the manufacturer? Are there substantive studies and adverse reports about serious complications tied to the particular type/model of hernia mesh
  • Level of injuries suffered– Defective medical devices can cause a wide range of debilitating injuries that diminish one’s quality of life. The nature and severity of a plaintiff’s injuries are one of the most critical factors in assessing the value of a claim. In situations where the plaintiff endured multiple surgeries, prolonged hospital stays and sustained permanent damage, the payouts will likely be much higher.
  • Amount of medical bills– the amount of money paid for doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, hospitalization, medications, surgeries and assistive medical devices.
  • How the injuries/complications have impacted your life – compensation awards are generally higher in cases where your injury has had significant negative impacts on your daily life and ability to work.  For example, a plaintiff who suffers from chronic infections and life-long digestive problems due to hernia mesh complications.
  • Loss of wages and future earnings – The amount of lost income will also factor in to a settlement or jury award. Plaintiffs who were unable to work for a long period of time or who cannot return to their previous employment because of permanent disability are entitled to financial recovery for past, present and future loss of earnings.

Experienced Louisiana hernia mesh attorney

Hernia mesh complications can undermine one’s quality and enjoyment of life, leaving victims to grapple with chronic pain, scarring, inflammation, kidney problems and a host of other incapacitating issues. If you or someone you love has suffered adverse side effects after hernia mesh implantation, you deserve experienced legal help.

Bart Bernard is a highly skilled hernia mesh lawyer who represents clients in Louisiana and throughout the United States. To discuss your case free of charge, we invite you to call today.

Additional “Hernia Mesh Lawsuit” Resources: 

  1. FDA, Hernia Surgical Mesh Implants
  2. PennRecord, Pittsburgh judge in polypropylene mesh case ‘followed well-settled law,’
  3. LegalExaminer, MDL May Be on the Horizon for Hernia Mesh Lawsuits

Who is Legally Responsible for a Defective Product?

December 28, 2016 Defective Devices 0 Comments

Red warning exclamation point signA person may not have reason to think about just how many products – both commercial and consumer – he or she comes into contact with each day or how these products may jeopardize personal safety if they fail. We are potentially in peril at any given moment and rely on the safety features of products to prevent danger; when these safety features fail or a product is designed improperly, the results can redefine the course of a victim’s life.

Part of the job of a product liability attorney is to determine who may be legally responsible for a defective product. There is not always a clear-cut answer. Including the correct parties in a product liability claim can make all the difference in receiving fair compensation for injuries. Bart Bernard helps injury victims answer these kinds of questions and has earned a track record of success as a result.

Negligence and defective products

Often overlooked everyday items lead to personal injury and property damage ranging from the most minor to tragically fatal. Consider in an average work day:

  • The coffee maker for the first morning cup of joe, which may cause extensive damage if it catches fire
  • Each of the automobiles on the road throughout the drive to work, which can cause serious injury to other drivers if the brakes fail
  • The office swivel chairs which can cause strains and sprains in the event of a collapse
  • The electrical charger that powers the personal cell phone and may cause burn injuries if it catches fire

The party legally responsible in each instance will depend on who was negligent.

At the center of most personal injury and property damage cases, from dog bites to product liability injuries, is the question of negligence. A party is negligent if it was under a duty to do or not do a thing, and by breaching that duty proximately caused the injury or damages. In a product liability case, the plaintiff needs to prove that a defendant was negligent and therefore must be able to point to what duty was breached.

Some of the possible scenarios in a product liability lawsuit:

  • The designer incorporated a safety flaw
  • The manufacturer used the wrong materials
  • The distributor improperly labeled the risks

Cost of defective products

When people are injured by products, the injuries can cause tremendous economic and emotional loss. One indicator is the disparity in personal injury awards by type of cause. According to the Insurance Information Institute, product liability claims top the personal injury jury verdict rankings substantially, with the median 2014 verdict at $3,000,000. For perspective, the next highest median verdict was medical malpractice, at $775,500, followed by business negligence at $226,667.

In order for product liability verdicts to be collectible, the plaintiff must include the proper parties and also ensure that the claims raised are thorough in order to trigger coverage by the defendants’ insurers.

At the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, we know which questions to ask in order to find the answers that establish liability. We help victims achieve maximum compensation for their injuries. Call any time, day or night, for a free case consultation.

Product liability resources

  1. Bart Bernard, Product Liability Case Review, //product-liability/
  2. Insurance Information Institute, Product Liability,