Are Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Real?
Yes, hernia mesh lawsuits are real. Many people in the United States have had health complications as a result of defective hernia mesh products and have filed lawsuits against mesh manufacturers. You could also be eligible for damages if you had side effects due to an implant. A hernia mesh lawyer can help.
What are the symptoms of hernia mesh failure?
Hernia mesh failure has a number of symptoms that can range based on:
- The type of hernia mesh
- The form of hernia mesh repair surgery entailed
- The hernia site
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), your symptoms can vary depending on whether or not you have a recalled mesh product. More recent hernia mesh implants come with side effects such as:
- Pain: Pain following hernia mesh surgery can become chronic.
- Infection: Signs that hernia mesh sites have become infected include fever, flu-like symptoms, or inflammation.
- Hernia recurrence: This is when another hernia forms even after you receive a hernia mesh implant.
- Adhesion: This refers to a kind of scarring that causes other organs or tissue to improperly bind to the mesh.
- Bowel obstruction: Bowel obstruction could also result from unintended mesh adhesion. Per Mayo Clinic, intestinal obstruction could entail constipation, abdominal swelling, issues with appetite, and problems with bowel movements.
- Mesh migration: This occurs when the mesh shifts to another site in the body. If the mesh migrated, you may experience fever, nausea, vomiting, unusually warm skin close to the surgery site, fluid build-up beneath the skin, or pain.
- Mesh shrinkage: When hernia mesh shrinks, local tissues can be stretched or damaged, leading to pain.
These symptoms, along with others, are also common with older mesh products (mesh not currently on the market). Additional symptoms with older implants include tissue perforation and bowel perforation.
One study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) notes that some forms of hernia mesh repair can lead to complications in nearly 6% of patients. This study observed hernia mesh complications and follow-up procedures over a five-year period, demonstrating that hernia mesh repair can entail long-term complications.
Additionally, certain forms of hernia surgeries come with their own risk of complications. As Healthline notes, inguinal hernia repair (hernia surgery at the groin) may involve risks to blood vessels in the area, such the testes. You could also face nerve damage or other organ damage in the treated areas.
What are the potential damages for hernia mesh injuries?
In a hernia mesh lawsuit, you could seek a number of compensatory damages, depending on how the injury affected you. Both financial and non-financial damages could be available.
Economic damages (your monetary losses)
These are damages that caused you financial losses as a result of your hernia mesh implant, which may include:
- Medical bills, such as for revision surgery, surgery to remove a defective mesh, care related to hernia recurrence, emergency care, diagnostic testing, surgery, physical therapy, visits to a doctor, medications, and more
- Lost wages, including income you missed due to the time spent recovering from injury
- Reduced earning capacity if you will be unable to earn the same income as you did before your injury
- Other out-of-pocket costs, such as for medical assistive devices, like home modifications
Keep in mind that these damages can account for your past, present, and future losses. So, if you anticipate the need for additional hernia repair surgery, you can seek an award for that expense, as well.
Non-economic damages (your non-monetary losses)
These are losses that have no clear dollar value but have caused losses nonetheless. They include:
- Pain and suffering for your physical pain and other related challenges
- Mental anguish for psychological harm
- Loss of consortium if the injury prevents you from being intimate with your spouse
- Loss of enjoyment of life if you have lost interest in hobbies and activities you enjoyed before the injury
Hernia mesh lawsuits have not yet been settled, and there is no predetermined amount that a claimant can expect. Your damages may be awarded based on unique factors, such as your medical bills and how severely your injuries have affected your work and life.
You may seek legal help because calculating and proving your damages—especially your non-economic losses—can be complicated. For example, let’s say that your hernia mesh implant caused severe abdominal pain that left you unable to work. As a result, you may have experienced lost wages, as well as depression due to your shift in employment status.
In this situation, if you can show compelling evidence of your medical prognosis, your mental health condition, and your need to take on a new line of work due to your health complications, you may have a good case for fair compensation. If you don’t show strong evidence of these damages, your case may not yield the awards you expect.
How do I know if I qualify for a hernia mesh lawsuit?
Your symptoms could be related to your hernia mesh implant. If so, we can help you determine if you have a case.
A law firm we connect you with will consider such details as:
- The complications you’ve had since your hernia mesh implant
- Your medical prognosis
- When you had your surgery
- Which hernia mesh product was involved
A legal team in our network can tell you more about whether or not you can pursue a hernia mesh lawsuit.
Filing a hernia mesh lawsuit based on negligence or product liability
Depending on the details of your case, we may have grounds to file a lawsuit based on product liability or medical negligence. A hernia mesh attorney can pursue a case in either of two legal scenarios:
- If a doctor or other medical provider’s failure to provide proper care caused your injury
- If a hernia mesh maker’s design, manufacturing, or improper labeling was responsible for your injury
Read on below to learn more about what it takes to prove medical negligence or product liability.
Hernia mesh lawsuits based on defective design
If the materials or other aspects of the hernia mesh’s design were the cause of your injury, you may have a defective design case against the product manufacturer. The hernia mesh manufacturer does not need to have known of the defective design to be liable for a defective product.
One case of defective hernia mesh design involved the Kugel Patch created by Davol, Inc. The FDA issued recalls of several Kugel Patch products in 2006 after reports of product failures, and Davol, Inc. is no longer marketing the product in the United States.
The design defect was related to the raised ring that allowed the patch to hold its shape. After surgery, the ring could become distorted, breaking or bending in the body. This defect led to complications such as:
- Mesh migration
- Bowel obstructions
In one settlement related to the Kugel Patch, Davol, Inc. paid over 2,600 plaintiffs $184 million in damages.
Hernia mesh lawsuits based on manufacturing defects
In a product liability case, the design of the product may be safe and adequate for patient use, but the way the hernia mesh was manufactured led to defects.
With Bard Davol’s Kugel Patch, this product was found to contain both design defects and manufacturing defects. The Kugel Patch was made of poor-quality polypropylene. While polypropylene is a standard material used in hernia mesh manufacturing, the Kugel Patch products were made of an unsafe form of this material.
A manufacturing defect could result from:
- Choices to cut costs and use substandard, non-medical grade materials
- Assembly errors
- And more
Hernia mesh lawsuits based on failure to warn
A medical product or procedure may come with risks, and medical product manufacturers are expected to disclose those risks. A hernia mesh maker must also label a product so that medical providers are aware of any risks involved with the product and how they can manage those risks.
In these kinds of cases, plaintiffs and their legal teams may be able to show that a hernia mesh product did not contain adequate labeling for this purpose.
Medical malpractice and hernia mesh lawsuits
If your medical provider improperly implanted your hernia mesh, you may not have a product liability case. Instead, this could be a case of medical malpractice.
These kinds of cases need to prove that a medical provider—either a doctor, nurse, or another provider—deviated from the normal standard of care they owed all patients. Four elements of medical malpractice must be established through compelling evidence:
- The provider had a duty of care: This is relatively straightforward to prove if you were a patient, as doctors and other medical staff have a duty to care for a patient.
- They failed to uphold their duty of care: Here is where the case will require more substantial evidence. You will need to prove that the provider was careless, reckless, inattentive, or otherwise negligent in their duties to provide a normal level of care.
- Their failure led directly to your injury, also known as causation: It will need to be clear that the provider’s negligence was the reason you were injured. In other words, your hernia mesh surgery complications were not the result of a defective product or your own pre-existing health conditions. This element also requires substantial evidence, such as medical expert testimony.
- You suffered damages as a result: Damages can take the form of financial and non-financial losses, such as the cost of additional mesh repair surgery or lost wages.
Medical malpractice cases are especially complicated, and you may not want to deal with your case on your own while you are recovering. To prove your case, you may need expert testimony to speak to these medical details, including:
- Defining what reasonable care would look like in your case
- Pinpointing the actions or inactions that deviated from that standard
- Demonstrating that those actions or inactions caused your past or current health outcome
A lawyer who handles medical malpractice cases will typically have medical industry contacts who may be able to speak to these issues in your case. Again, the importance of building compelling evidence is key if your hernia mesh case resulted from a provider’s negligence.
Who is the defendant in a hernia mesh lawsuit?
Whoever was responsible for the design, manufacturing, and labeling of your product could be liable for your damages. In a hernia mesh lawsuit case, the defendant could be one of many possible hernia mesh manufacturers.
Atrium – Maquet – Getinge Group: C-QUR
The hernia mesh product known as C-QUR may contain manufacturing and design defects. The product’s coating is made from fish oil, which can lead to side effects, such as adhesion and infection. Atrium Medical would be the defendant in a lawsuit involving this product.
Covidien – Medtronic: Parietex
Covidien LLC, a subsidiary of Medtronic, issued recalls of its hernia mesh product known as Parietex Composite Parastomal Mesh. These meshes caused recurring hernias, pain, and other side effects.
Davol – C.R. Bard: ST hernia patch products
Davol, Inc. (a subsidiary of C.R. Bard) may face hernia mesh lawsuits involving several of its products, including its ST hernia patches.
Davol – C.R. Bard: Composix Kugel patch
These Kugel patches contained a defective ring design that caused the product to bend or break, leading to their migration. Again, Davol, Inc. may be liable due to these defects.
C.R. Bard: 3DMax
Designed for inguinal hernia repairs, these 3DMax meshes are especially lightweight and made with an anatomical shape. After surgery, these meshes can deteriorate, migrate, or cause other complications over time.
C.R. Bard: PerFix Plug and Marlex
This polypropylene plastic was trademarked by C.R. Bard and used to produce a number of hernia meshes, such as the company’s PerFix Plug. However, this plastic can degrade over time.
Ethicon – Johnson & Johnson: Proceed Mesh
Ethicon, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, could be liable for mesh defects related to the product called Proceed Mesh. Ethicon, Inc. recalled thousands of its own Proceed mesh units because they eroded in the body.
The Physiomesh was another mesh product made by Ethicon, Inc. that led to complications after surgery, including hernia recurrence. The company issued recalls with this product, as well.
Ethicon: Prolene Hernia System (PHS)
Often used for inguinal hernia repair, the defects found in these hernia meshes have led to lawsuits due to health complications, such as chronic pain.
What is the average payout for a hernia mesh lawsuit?
There is no average payout for a hernia mesh lawsuit, as these suits vary based on:
- The hernia mesh product involved
- The extent of the damages caused by the product
- The negotiated settlement or court award in each case
- And other factors
However, you could be able to seek damages that would cover the extent of your losses, including both financial and non-financial losses.
Payouts for plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation cases
If you are joining a hernia mesh lawsuit as a plaintiff in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) case, you will become part of a larger group of plaintiffs across the country who have been similarly injured. Some current hernia mesh lawsuits are already in litigation as MDLs.
There are some advantages involved in seeking damages through an MDL case. These include:
- You can still seek damages even if your injuries are relatively minor.
- You can combine legal resources with others to seek justice and compensation.
Depending on how an MDL proceeds, the liable manufacturers may work out a settlement with the entire class of plaintiffs, or they may settle with individual law firms representing the plaintiffs.
How much compensation have some plaintiffs already received?
Some cases against hernia mesh manufacturers are already settled or received verdicts. This includes the $184 million settlement from C.R. Bard/Davol, Inc. in 2011. This is the largest hernia mesh settlement to date.
Many hernia mesh settlements are still in litigation, such as the Physiomesh lawsuits against Ethicon, Inc., as well as suits against C.R. Bard/Davol, Inc. and Atrium Medical. There are many lawsuits pending against these companies across the country, and more are in process with the state courts.
In many of these cases, trial dates are scheduled for 2021. The settlement amounts for these lawsuits have yet to be determined.
Is the hernia mesh litigation a class-action lawsuit or individual lawsuit?
Hernia mesh lawsuits take the form of individual lawsuits, and then many may be consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases. These multidistrict litigation cases allow multiple plaintiffs—in some cases, thousands of plaintiffs—to bring a case against one defendant for similar damages.
Multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases differ from class-action lawsuits, however.
- An MDL against Atrium Medical is currently in litigation, as of September 29, 2021. With thousands of lawsuits filed against the manufacturer for defects related to C-QUR mesh, litigation has been stalled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- An MDL against Ethicon, Inc. is in litigation, as of September 29, 2021. Thousands of cases have been brought for the company’s Physiomesh Composite product. Like the MDL against Atrium Medical, these trials were also postponed during 2020.
- An MDL against C.R. Bard/Davol Inc. also has thousands of cases filed for its polypropylene mesh products. This MDL is still in litigation, as of September 29, 2021.
How big will a hernia mesh settlement be?
There is no way to estimate how much a potential hernia mesh settlement may be. As many of these lawsuits are still in litigation, the settlement amounts are unclear.
However, you should know that the settlement amounts may be influenced by the outcome of the initial bellwether trials in each case. A bellwether trial is for an individual case involved in the MDL used to determine representative damages for the suit, among other purposes. If the bellwether trials have a positive outcome, this could push the defendants to pursue a settlement.
The law firms representing plaintiffs in these cases will work to seek a fair settlement. In the 2011 case against C.R. Bard/Davol, Inc., $184 million was divided among plaintiffs.
When will hernia mesh settlements happen?
Trial dates for the MDLs against hernia mesh manufacturers have been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and many of these cases were scheduled to resume in mid-2021.
If you file a lawsuit for a hernia mesh case and you hire a law firm, an injury lawyer can update you about the progress of your case. If they receive news of any settlement offers, you will be informed.
Get help from hernia mesh lawsuit lawyers
You don’t have to face the complications of a hernia mesh lawsuit on your own. We can refer you to a law firm within our nationwide network. Fill out our contact form for help with your case today.