The Providence Journal reports that while Davol has prevailed in its first 1st hernia patch suit it may well be on its way to losing the larger war in U.S. District Court.
A U.S. District Court jury found that a hernia repair patch manufactured and marketed by a Cranston company did not cause the injuries suffered by a Missouri man, the first verdict in thousands of lawsuits concerning the patches.
John Whitfield sued Cranston-based Davol Inc. and its parent company, C.R. Bard Inc., after he said that “memory recoil rings” in the Composix Kugel Mesh patch a doctor used to repair his abdominal hernia in 2003 broke, obstructing his bowel and forcing 22 cm of his intestine to be removed.
The jury found that while the patch was negligently designed, it could not be blamed for Whitfield’s injuries.
Though Whitfield technically lost the case, the verdict will help the remaining cases as they work their way through the courts, said lawyer Donald Migliori, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. That’s because while the jury found that the company did not defectively design the patch, it did agree that the company was negligent in the design of the patch.
“It’s a very important ruling for all 3,000 cases,” Migliori said. “It means the patch is a negligently designed patch, and shouldn’t be and should not have been on the market.”
Migliori said he plans to file a motion by June 9 that would allow the decision in Whitfield’s case to be applied to the remaining cases concerning the patches. If the court approves the motion, Migliori said, that means future cases would have to prove only that the patch caused people’s injuries, not that the patch’s design was faulty as well.
The next case in federal court is that of Christopher Thorpe of North Carolina, Migliori said. In that case, Thorpe’s patch had two plastic rings that Migliori said broke and caused internal injuries. Jury selection in that case begins on June 9, with evidence beginning on June 15.