Who, What & Why About Hernia Mesh Products and Lawsuits
A hernia is a very common medical condition which requires surgery to repair.
There are close to 1 million hernia repair surgeries performed in the U.S. each year, which makes it the most common type of surgical procedure.
The majority of hernia repairs involve the use of a “mesh.” The mesh is similar to a small net or screen, and a surgeon places it on the area surrounding the hernia (attached with stitches, staples or glue).
While hernia mesh products are meant to improve a patient’s outcome, and reduce the risk of a recurrence, there have been many reports of hernia mesh complications, which require removal of the mesh. In some cases, the mesh is replaced with a new product, often referred to as “revision” surgeries.
Full Episode Transcript
Welcome to Legal Squeaks, I’m your host, Dennis VanDerGinst. Before we get started on today’s podcast, I’d like to remind you to please subscribe to, rate, and review Legal Squeaks on your favorite podcast platform.
It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s absolutely free to do so.
Also, you can go to legalsqueaks.com to watch the video version of this podcast, as well as all of our other episodes. Today we’ll be discussing the hernia mesh litigation. The interview that we will be airing was previously recorded with Barbara Capasso and John Ray, our friends from Mass Tort Nexus who are experts on pharmaceutical and medical device litigation.
Today, I’m happy and proud to announce that our guests are Barbara Capasso and John Ray. They’re the founders of Mass Tort Nexis, which is an incredible educational resource on the practice of mass torts, specifically pharmaceutical and medical device litigation.
Essentially, they teach, consult and provide in depth, knowledge and research to plaintiffs law firms across the country. And I’m happy to say that at VanDerGinst Law we use their services and consult with them every week. We’re glad to have them here today to provide their expert insights into the hernia mesh litigation. We also have Kitka Galvin, who is the lead paralegal and mass tort coordinator at VanDerGinst Law.
So I’d like to begin by throwing out a couple of questions for John or Barbara to answer. First, we’d like to discuss, what is hernia mesh? What’s it designed to address?
OK, hernia mesh is one of those products, a medical device, that when it was originally created, there was probably a need for it. Basically it looks like a window screen, but it’s made out of various types of plastics and other petroleum products in general.
And there was a need in the market for it for exceptional use. In other words, when someone… hernias have been repaired going back to the Egyptian times. Through suturing, through suturing a… when the muscles have divided and an internal organ or structure is protruding to the muscle, that’s what a hernia is.
The traditional method of repairing that was to open up the hernia site and then suture muscle back in to other viable tissue. That was the traditional method. It still works and still used today. When hernia mesh came on the market – when I say there was a need it, the the exceptional use need – those cases, those surgical cases where there was no viable tissue. Let’s say everything around the hernia site, the muscle tissue, was either necrotic dead or otherwise disturbed. So the traditional methods wouldn’t work. That would be a good use for hernia mesh.
But makers of medical devices do not want to create a device for exceptional use. They want to create a device and have it be standard of care. In other words, they want a doctor to use that device every time they see a hernia. Had the device been limited to exceptional use, one out of two thousand, one out of three thousand surgical cases, very few people would have been injured. And arguably since they had, since the normal method wouldn’t have worked, it would have been justified using it to give at least give them a chance.
But the manufacturers of the product marketed it as standard of care. And true, it is easier for surgeries and quicker for surgeons to use hernia mesh than to do the traditional methods. But these problems over the years, going back 20 years, have been problematic and the manufacturers keep trying to solve the problems, and all they seem to be accomplishing is to make the products even more dangerous. Endanger even more people. That’s a quick history of hernia mesh.
And just on a side note, transvaginal mesh, which there was massive litigation over, came to be because certain surgeons were taking hernia mesh products and cutting them into designs for those exceptional use cases in vaginal vault surgeries where traditional tacking methods wouldn’t work and using them off label. The manufacturers of hernia mesh products discovered that, and then they went out and got… they cut the products themselves and got new approvals from the FDA, and again made it standard of care for vaginal vault prolapse surgeries and again harmed hundreds of thousands of women as a result.
Okay, let me see if I can simplify some of that a little better. Basically, for your audience, standard of care means the way a surgery is performed in most facilities. So let me explain what that means. It’s really important. If any of your audience, or any of your clients, Dennis, go into the hospital and have a hernia, the only way, 99 percent of the time, the only way that they repair a hernia today is with mesh. Whereas as John explained before, they used to use a tacking procedure.
Why did they do it? It’s very simple. They make more money because they’re using a medical device. And secondly, surgeons don’t need to be as skilled, and they can perform far more surgeries per day. So it’s more efficient for the medical community and for doctors to perform surgery this way. In fact, most likely, if you have a hernia and go in to see a doctor or a surgeon, unless you ask for a tacking procedure and demand it, they will use hernia mesh on you.
Or ask them to avoid using hernia mesh if at all possible. Those numbers, 99 percent of surgical cases is probably higher. You use mesh versus one percent using tacking should be reverse. The standard of care should be tacking, that that’s the first thing the surgeon thinks of and the exceptional use, the “okay, tacking is not going to work here, we’re going to use hernia mesh” should be the less than one percent. But it’s opposite.
Correct. The next important issue here is “how is hernia mesh supposed to work?” Well, I guess that depends. Hernia mesh is supposed to… the theory is, it’s supposed to go in, as John explained, and patch the area. But unfortunately, for many reasons that I’ll let John go into, those patches fail to stay in place and do far worse things than not stay in place.
Think about it like this. We’ll go back to the window screen or screen door example. A screen and a screen door or a window screen is attached to a frame and it’s held in place by that frame, stretched.
Now, think about cutting a piece of that screen out of its frame. Now it’s loose. And attaching it to something that is mobile, i.e., the human body, muscle tissue and other tissue in the body that’s going to be moving around. It’s no longer in a frame that holds it in place. One of the things that occurs is it becomes loose as the body moves. And the other thing that occurs, any time there is a foreign object in the body, if you’ve ever had a splinter in your finger that you did not remove, you will see that the skin grows over that splinter.
When a foreign object is in the human body, the human body, essentially attacks it, tries to get rid of it. And if it can’t get rid of it, it tries to encapsulate it. And the human body sees this mesh as a foreign invader. And this is one of the problems that the mesh manufacturers have tried to overcome unsuccessfully.
So you end up with either the product coming loose and it ends up instead of holding a hernia in place, just a ball of mesh, called a meshoma, with tissue attaching to it and it starts pulling other tissue causing organ damage, because as it pulls into that ball, as it’s being pulled by muscles and other organs, it’s damaging tissue as well as creating this foreign object that resembled a tumor inside the human body.
So that’s why when you take a mesh out of a stretched screen with something to hold it, that doesn’t move like a metal frame, and put it in the human body, it’s quite obvious the problems that can occur. And they do.
Yeah, and quite honestly, the first side effect that almost every patient complains of, the very first thing, if they’ve had an original mesh surgery or their first surgery, they end up in pain. Now, what type of pain depends on the individual. It can be a little bit of pain, it can be excruciating pain and anything in between.
So at that point, generally then, you go back to your doctor and say, “look, I had the surgery some time ago and I’m in a lot of pain and I want relief from this pain”. So the first side effect is pain.
And what generally happens after that? It depends on your situation and your doctor and you know what transpires after you have your first hernia surgery. But generally, if it’s bad enough, and they take imaging and see that there’s an issue, you will go back in and have another surgery after your original surgery. We call that a revision surgery and some folks have multiple revision surgeries.
The problem that often occurs when the body has encapsulated and disformed the mesh, is that it can’t be completely surgically removed. Let’s say it is between your stomach wall and your intestines and it’s attached to your intestines or pieces of it. The only way to remove it, if it does have to be removed, if it can’t be safely left in, even if it’s causing your pain, is to remove part of your colon or your intestine. Your small intestine, your large intestines, or your colon. So you can end up losing a very important anatomical structure, like a piece of your small intestines, because the mesh has grown into it and can’t be removed surgically piece by piece.
Now, you guys, I don’t know if you even realized I was gone, but I had a technical difficulty there. This, by the way, folks, is why I love working with these guys. They are consummate professionals. They just kept right on rolling with with me being absent. So that’s wonderful. Have you been able to address… obviously, I’m not sure what I’ve missed out on, but have you been able to talk about the companies, the defendants that are involved in the litigation and where we’re at as far as the litigation?
That’s exactly where we are, Dennis. You’re awesome. You picked right up. So let me explain to everyone out there where we are. Hernia mesh is actually manufactured by many different manufacturers. That’s the way the pharmaceutical industry works. Once something is on the market and selling well, other companies come and duplicate it because they want part of the market share. They want part of the money. There’s no other way to say it.
The number one manufacturer of hernia mesh is Bard. Now, they make up seventy or seventy five percent of the market. However, if you have a different type of mesh, it too will likely be part of this litigation. And please contact VanDerGinst Law. They have an entire list of all the products that are part of this litigation. So it’s not just Bard, but it is very likely that you may have a Bard product.
But I would say regardless of whether or not, regardless of the product, if the product itself has malfunctioned, in other words, it’s not that you’ve got a post surgical infection a few days after your surgery, but you went back in, your doctor has taken images or whatever, and the mesh isn’t where it’s supposed to be and it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to look, then call the law firm and let them review your case. Because simply because a product may not have been recalled does not mean that because that product malfunctioned, that a viable product liability litigation against the maker for failing to make a product that the bad thing didn’t happen, that happened to you.
That’s right. And also, please understand that most of you will not know what type of mesh you had because you were having surgery. So unless you looked at your records or someone in your family did, you just got something repaired that that was broken in your body. So please don’t let that stop you from calling VanDerGinst Law because if you have had a revision surgery, which we said earlier is a second surgery after your first surgery because you were in pain or for other reasons, then you may have a viable claim.
So don’t feel, “oh gosh, I don’t know what type I have. I should know.” That isn’t the case at all. We’ll figure that out with your medical records. But if you have had hernia mesh surgery and you’ve had a second or third, or subsequent surgeries to your first, you may definitely have a claim here.
Or if you’re scheduled to have a surgery, second surgery, a repair surgery.
Right, right. Have you had an opportunity to talk about multi-district litigation and the way that these claims are brought and where we’re at in litigation right now? When I say we, I mean the litigation itself.
Multi-district litigation. Most everyone’s heard of a class action lawsuit. You’ve probably received a notice before for a class action lawsuit. Could be that Equifax or someone like that let your data get out. Or your insurance company was overcharging you.
The difference in a multi-district litigation and a class action, is essentially, you may get that notice and you may receive funds, a small amount of money at some point time.
The difference in a class action and a multi-district litigation, is in a multi-district litigation, the cases that are filed all have certain facts that are common to all the cases. In other words, like “Hey this product we recalled, this is why it was defective”. One federal judge is going to hear all that. But the difference is your case remains a separate and individual case. So you’re not going to get a coupon in the mail like you might from a class action.
Your case is actually going to be… ultimately if it doesn’t settle, tried on the merits. Generally, they do settle. So we’re talking about significant compensation, not a coupon from the defendant for one of the products.
What we like to say is, since John compared it to a class action, we’ve all participated in those and got a very generally a small amount of money, maybe something else. But what makes these different is these claims against the makers of hernia mesh have the potential for very meaningful compensation. And it just depends on your injuries. So the best way to describe it is each individual who files a claim with VanDerGinst Law may be getting a different amount of money.
It just depends on your individual injuries. And oftentimes we don’t know what the claims are going to pay until we get very close to settlement. Which brings me to the fact that hernia mesh, this litigation, has been going on for upwards of four years now.
The current one.
The current litigation. And so we are getting close to our settlement. Now, what does that mean, exactly? Well, we don’t know for sure. It could be another year. It could be another two years until we get to a settlement. However, it’s very important that you call now, because it takes us time. It takes the VanDerGinst Law firm time. It takes everyone time to get the medical records to prove up your claim. So the sooner you call, the better so we can get working on your claim.
Something that’s important for plaintiffs to understand, is that the defendants in these cases, they know what they did, they know what they didn’t do, they know what they did wrong. But in order for Dennis, and other firms that work on these cases, to get to force the defendant to settle. It’s not like the defendant comes to court and says, “oh, yeah, these are the things we did wrong”.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers’ have to pull it out of them. And through the discovery process, the court forces the defendant to give the plaintiff’s lawyer the information, have to ultimately prove the case because the defendant is going to say “we did nothing wrong from day one”.
But in the end, after several years of litigation and discovery, we’re able to have a lawyer, or Dennis will be able to, prove, “yes, you did do something wrong. Yes, this was your fault. And yes, you are going to pay these people.”
Right. And I think it’s important to note here, it’s something that John had said before, that I’m sure that anybody who is watching or listening is going to want to know, which is whether or not they’re going to have to be expected to go to trial. And as John pointed out, it’s highly unlikely that anybody that we’re representing is going to have to go to trial. Typically in a case like this, there are only a handful of cases that go to trial. Which kind of sets the stage for the settlement that follows.
It kind of lays out a template that that can be used going forward to see what the universe is like as far as the possibility of settlement.
So maybe what we should do to kind of wrap this up is talk about exactly what kind of injury qualifies someone for compensation. And I know, as Barbara pointed out, we don’t know what the potential resolution may be, but maybe at least talk about a reasonable range of expectations.
Certainly. Well, I’m not going to go into all of the medical injuries, but I will say that hernia mesh has one of the largest combinations of injuries that I’ve ever seen. So you can have something, I’ll just give a basic example. Something as small as John mentioned earlier, the mesh not tacking properly where they just have to go back in after the surgery and tack it a little better. Sometimes, as John pointed out earlier as well, the mesh will ball up and that causes obviously severe pain. And that’s that’s a midsize injury, if you will.
And in the larger injuries John mentioned earlier as well, something where they may have to go in and do a bowel dissection where you end up, sometimes in the worst cases, with a colostomy bag. So as you can see, the value of your claim would vary based on your particular injuries.
Let me interject here. I mean, the touchstone, what what we look for in a case is that the person has either had revision surgery to fix the mesh that was put in, not a new hernia, but to fix the problem with the fix for the prior hernia.
But there’s one case, I was going to make sure I say this, because the single most valuable case where there is the most damage is the case where the doctor will not do surgery. The problem is so bad that it’s called an inoperable. That the doctors looked at it and said, “well, I would like to do surgery, but you’re going to be… yes, you’re going to be in pain the rest of your life. You’re going to have problems and this could potentially hurt you, but if I had surgery, I might kill you”.
Or your problem may be far worse. So inoperable. Just because you haven’t had surgery, if your doctors told you “I can’t do the surgery because it’s too dangerous because of the condition of the mesh”. But those are rare. But I don’t want everyone to think, well, “my doctor said I can’t have revision surgery, which means I don’t have a case”.
Now, don’t call the VanDerGinst firm and tell them that you can’t be operated on again because we will need proof of this. So just to be clear, that is a very rare thing to happen, but it does happen where it’s just too risky because of someone’s age, medical condition, where the mesh is migrated or moved. So it happens on occasion.
Right, right. So I’m going to ask Kitka to interject now. Would you let our listeners and the viewers know what it is that they can do if they have questions or if they feel that they have a case that they’d like us to help them out with, what is it that they should do? And can you kind of outline for them what to expect once they contact us, how we get these cases and how we open their files?
Sure. Good question. So the first thing I would say, if you’re sitting at home and you think “that sounds like me”, please go to our website and there’s a there’ll be a free screening. A few questions to answer. And once we get that, one of our intake specialist will reach out to you. There’ll be another series of questions, of course, going a little bit more in depth.
The way we decide what determines if you have a case, is we would need to order your medical records, your operative records, and kind of put the facts together. Put the proof together. And once we get that, those medical records and that documentation that we need to prove it, we then go forward, as John described, the MDL, the multi-district litigation. That’s how these things are filed. So you’ll get paperwork, you’ll be asked questions, you’ll get paperwork.
One piece of paper is a contract saying you’d like us to handle this for you and then also authorizations for us to get that documentation that we need. After that, you just have to have patience. It’s, as Barb and John said, this has been going on for four years and we’re still kind of in the homestretch, but we’re not there yet. And we have other mass torts that are just beginning. It’s a long process. It’s a lot of waiting.
You’ll hear from us about once a month. We might not have anything to tell you other than we’re still here and we’re still working on it. But we do keep in contact with you about once a month.
Thank you, Kitka. And Kitka mentioned the website. Again, that’s vlaw.com. If you need to or if you’d prefer to actually give us a call because you have questions, you can reach us at 800-960-vlaw(8529).
Or you can check out our Facebook page or other social media platforms. But usually we’re going to put you through that vetting process that Kitka had mentioned to determine whether we think that there’s a viable claim. Because obviously we’re not here to waste your time. John and Barbara have done an outstanding job of outlining what it is that we’re looking at, what we’re looking for, what the problems are, what the potential defects are that have arisen as a result, and what the status of the litigation is.
So I want to give John and Barbara a chance. If you have anything more that you’d like to add, feel free to jump in.
I want to say this. Because I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, working as a researcher related to defective drugs and medical devices. And I know some people just don’t like the idea of filing a lawsuit. I call them “litigation averse” and they just don’t like the idea of filing a lawsuit.
But something I always say to those people is this just isn’t about you. What you’re doing when you call a law firm and add your name to the list or add your case, your example of how you were harmed to the list, you’re helping other people avoid harm in the future.
So even if you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for everyone else, that you’ll be helping to prevent them from being harmed in the future.
Great point, John. I definitely appreciate that. Barb, do you have anything to add?
Just one final thing. We had talked about Bard being the main manufacturer of mesh, and you’d asked me, or asked all of us about trials. All of the trials have been chosen for Bard, but due to COVID we haven’t been able to move forward. But the chance of one of your client’s claims to be chosen for trial is about one percent at this point.
So basically, we would just be collecting the medical records and filing the claim into the MDL. So I just wanted to make that point because I think it’s an important one.
It is an important one. And I guess the final point that I will make, but I don’t know that we have touched on at all, but it is certainly something that people might be questioning, is the fact that we work these files on a contingent fee basis.
So really, as John mentioned, whether it’s for yourself or those who follow you, it’s not going to cost you anything unless we are successful in getting you compensation. So we front the costs. There’s no fee to discuss the case with us. There’s never a fee unless we get compensation. That’s important to know. So we want to make sure everybody is aware of that.
And again, if you have questions, either give us a call or go to vlaw.com and we’d be happy to help you out.
I want to thank our guests, Barb and John, for joining us. And I want to thank Kitka as well. And thank you, all of you who are listening in or watching. And we’re here to help. If ever you need us, we’d be honored. Thank you.
I’d like to thank John and Barb again for providing us with that insightful information on the hernia mesh litigation. And if you feel like you may have a case, feel free to reach out to VanDerGinst Law for a free consultation.
Again, I’d like to remind you all, if you haven’t already done so, please register, subscribe to, or follow Legal Squeaks on your favorite podcast platform. It’s absolutely free to do so.
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Be sure to join us next week on Legal Squeaks. And in the meantime, have a great day. Stay safe. And I love you all.
Want to see if you qualify for a hernia mesh lawsuit?
A History of Hernia Mesh Products
Earlier mesh products were absorbable – in other words, they were made out of animal byproducts that were designed to be gradually absorbed by the body and eventually disappear after implantation.
These earlier devices had a great safety record, but they did not provide permanent abdominal wall support, and many patients suffered from recurrences.
In the early 2000s, multiple manufacturers introduced permanent hernia mesh devices – made out of a special type of plastic, surrounded by an inert coating material that was supposed to make them biocompatible inside the body.
Because of a loophole in the FDA’s 510(k) process, hernia meshes fall into the category of class II medical devices, which exempts them from the FDA requirement of premarketing approval, which would require clinical testing before marketing.
Through the FDA’s 510(k) process, class II device manufacturers only have to demonstrate that the new product is “substantially equivalent” to a device already on the market (a predicate device).
This means, almost all meshes on the market today can be traced back to a handful of predicate surgical devices available prior to 1976 – at a time they did not have to provide clinical testing for benefits, efficacy, or safety.
Devices are then cleared to go to market without any clinical studies.
Who Manufactures Hernia Mesh Products?
There are dozens of companies who make hernia mesh – ranging from a start-up company called TELA Bio, all the way up to big pharma companies like Johnson & Johnson.
The global hernia mesh market is projected to reach $5.78 Billion by 2026, making this an extremely lucrative medical device market.
Why Are People Suing Over Hernia Mesh Products?
While companies like Ethicon (which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), Atrium, and Bard Davol have recalled more than 200,000 units of their hernia mesh products – the recalls came too late for thousands of people.
As of July 2020, there were 8,739 hernia mesh lawsuits pending against Ethicon, Atrium and Bard Davol in three separate multidistrict litigations (MDLs) and more filed in state courts throughout the country, all claiming the devices caused injuries or complications so severe that people had to have additional surgeries.
What Are the Complications of Hernia Mesh?
The most common hernia mesh complications include:
- Infection (deep, chronic infections may not occur until years after hernia mesh surgery)
- Hernia Recurrence
- Bowel Obstruction (Symptoms – nausea, vomiting, inability to pass gas or stool)
- Bowel / Organ Perforation (Symptoms – nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, abdominal rigidity)
- Rejection (Symptoms – extreme swelling at surgical site, redness, tenderness, pain, flu-like symptoms)
The most serious complications can be deadly – at the very least causing severe pain, and revision surgery is almost always needed to correct the problem.
Nearly one-third of people who have hernia surgeries experience some sort of complication. Complications from hernia mesh can happen right after surgery, or years later.
Who is Eligible to Make a Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Claim?
In most cases, in order to qualify for a lawsuit, people must have been told they need surgery or have already had surgery called hernia mesh revision surgery. This is a surgery to remove mesh, replace it or correct any tissue and/or organ damage caused by the original mesh product placement.
It is highly likely if you have had hernia repair surgery and mesh was used, you have no idea who the manufacturer is of that mesh, and that’s okay.
If you think you may qualify, answering a few questions with one of our intake specialists is the first step.
Questions include when and where procedures were done, how many procedures you have had, any current treatment status, injuries you have sustained as a result of hernia mesh complications.
Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Categories
Most suits filed against hernia mesh fall into three main categories:
- Defective Design
- Manufacturing Defect; and
- Failure to Warn.
Statute of Limitations for Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
Hernia mesh cases have statutes of limitations that impose a time limit on filing a claim. Each state has a time limit to file a claim, which can vary from one to six years.
Only an attorney can determine the exact statute of limitations on your claim. The general rule of thumb is that hernia mesh statutes start ticking the day the last revision surgery is performed and the statute will renew with each successive revision surgery a patient has to endure.
Before anything becomes an actual “lawsuit” there’s a pre-litigation process which consists of gathering all the evidence needed to “prove-up” the claim. How long this process takes depends on how accurate the information is clients are able to provide in regards to their previous treatment, surgeries, etc.
Many clients have had multiple surgeries, over the course of many years, and understandably this information is not always easy to recollect with accuracy.
Additionally, we are at the mercy of outside medical providers and facilities once we request records, and while some turn-around times are quicker than others – it can still be a time-consuming process.
However, our team is diligent about gathering the information, and over the years we have established relationships with a variety of vendors throughout the country that help to not only expedite this process, but do it much more efficiently than one person in an office requesting thousands of pages of medical records from providers all over the place.
Want to see if you qualify for a hernia mesh lawsuit?
Meet Lucy Reyes – Mass Tort Paralegal at VanDerGinst Law – FAQ
Lucy and other members of the mass tort team handle all the intake and case management needs of mass tort cases such as hernia mesh, overseen by & in consultation with Mr. VanDerGinst, lead attorney on all of the firm’s mass tort cases.
After you sign up with our firm, Lucy will be available to answer any questions you have about your case.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions she hears a lot from her clients:
Q: How do I know if my hernia mesh has failed?
A: That’s a medical question – if your doctor has done a revision, or suggested you get a revision, it’s probable that you may be suffering from complications related to the placement of hernia mesh in your body.
Sometimes, people call in to inquire about a claim, but haven’t even talked to their doctor yet about the problems they are having. Don’t go to your doctor for legal advice, and don’t go to your lawyer for medical advice.
Usually, there will be signs and symptoms indicating something is wrong.
It’s important to see a doctor and express these concerns. Only your medical provider can determine the root cause of your symptoms and make a determination on whether or not they are related to possible complications from your hernia repair.
According to Dr. Shirin Towfigh, a surgeon at the Beverly Hills Hernia Center, patients feel “unheard and overlooked” when they express concerns about their mesh. She has worked with patients whose lives have been altered drastically following their hernia repair surgery and post-surgical complications – problems have included an inability to have sex, loss of a testicle, inability to wear certain types of underwear, or to be able to sit in a meeting at work because of chronic pain.
A lot of attention has been focused on hernia mesh over the last few years, and Dr. Towfigh believes it will all lead to better and safer hernia surgeries with more focus on patient outcomes.
She said “all of the attention, all of the ads by lawyers, all of the patients who come to us well informed, they are speaking loudly and they’re forcing us to listen. I feel a change would not be made organically if we didn’t have patients, and lawyers, and social media and these websites to push us to do better.”
Q: How long will it take to get a settlement?
A: It is difficult to predict when cases will begin to settle. Based on prior mass tort product liability cases, we anticipate in will be years before a global settlement is reached in the current hernia mesh litigation.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant delays in our court system which means it is taking even longer to reach settlement. We know this is frustrating for clients, especially if they continue to deal with pain and medical problems caused by hernia mesh.
Our mass tort team will stay in regular contact with you to keep you updated every step of the way, and you can always call me if you want to check in or have questions.
Q: My hernia mesh failed and I had a revision surgery. Do I have a viable case?
A: Once an intake is completed with our firm, and a case is accepted, it’s only in the preliminary investigation stages.
Until we have obtained medical records from the original surgery and any revision surgeries – including obtaining information about the manufacturer of the hernia mesh product implanted- it is difficult to make any solid determinations about whether or not a client has a viable claim.
Sometimes the statute of limitations has expired, and sometimes we determine that the type of mesh implanted in a client isn’t involved in litigation. If we determine a client does not have a viable claim, the client owes us nothing. We do not charge for our investigation, so you have nothing to lose if you think there is any possibility that you have a claim.
Q: What else do I need to know about my hernia mesh case?
A: We are not suing your doctor, we are suing the manufacturer of this product. If your doctor had known the potential for complications, he/she likely would not have placed this product inside your body.
These are defective products, and in most cases, complications did not result from any medical procedural wrongdoing.
Q: Is there anything I need to do once I’ve retained your firm?
A: The only thing we need clients to do is provide us with a list of the following information:
- WHEN were your surgeries? This includes your original hernia mesh implant surgery and each revision surgery that came after.
- WHERE were your surgeries? Which hospitals, clinics, and/or surgery centers did you receive treatment in?
Q: How much is my case worth?
A: Every case is unique. Plaintiffs need to understand that settlement amounts are based on a number of factors, which include:
- The type of hernia mesh used and whether or not that product was recalled (by the FDA or by the manufacturer)
- The extent and severity of your injuries
- How your injuries have impaired your quality of life (pain & suffering)
- Loss of consortium, or companionship (for damages your spouse or family members may have suffered as a result of your injuries)
- The economic impact you have already suffered, and future economic impact (medical expenses)
- Past and future lost wages
Between 2011 – 2015, C.R. Bard paid out over $500 Million to settle 8,600 lawsuits.
Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of hernia mesh manufacturer Ethicon paid out $120 Million in 2016 to settle 42,000 lawsuits.
Boston Scientific settled two claims in 2014 for $34.5 million. It has been alleged the company smuggled materials from China to manufacture their mesh devices.
Most industry experts are calling the current hernia mesh lawsuits “Round Two,” with “Round One” referring to C.R. Bard’s Kugel Hernia Devices.
The hernia mesh lawsuits in Round Two are predicted to have higher settlement values because the injuries are generally more serious and are more likely to have caused permanent problems.
No hernia mesh lawsuit settlements in Round Two have been publicly announced.
Until the first few trials of Round Two begin to settle, it will be difficult to predict how much your case will be settling for. Typically, when a global settlement is reached, cases are placed into tiers depending on how strong their cases are – these tiers determine settlement amounts. Outcomes in prior hernia mesh lawsuits indicate settlements can range from $3,000 – $1 Million – with averages per plaintiff falling in the $40K – $60K range.
Why should I hire VanDerGinst Law to handle my hernia mesh claim?
Those firms that have the largest number of cases, like ours, will get to go to the table first, which means our clients will likely see compensation for their damages before some others.
Additionally, our mass tort team is experienced in evaluating cases, gathering medical records from multiple providers and locations, and reviewing medical records that include complex surgical notes and specialized terminology. We also have extensive knowledge about hernia mesh- how it is made and used, how it is supposed to work, what problems it can involve, and which types of hernia mesh are involved in litigation.
As a paralegal, my clients and their claims matter a great deal to me. I enjoy getting to know my clients on a personal level. Every case is different, and I take the time to make sure I understand each of my clients’ specific situations. I am here to answer questions- by text, phone, or email- and ensure my clients know they are being heard. I want them to feel reassured and know they are in good hands.
The law is tough, being injured is tougher.
We’ll make it easier for you!
Want to see if you qualify for a hernia mesh lawsuit?
The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.