The Atrium hernia mesh multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a consolidation of lawsuits against Atrium Medical Corp. These claims demand compensation for injuries caused by Atrium's defective C-Qur hernia mesh implants, particularly for any infections the implant has caused. That compensation is supposed to cover the following losses:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Reduced earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of companionship for the family of the victim.
The MDL against Atrium is composed of hundreds of hernia mesh lawsuits. The MDL consolidates them for pretrial procedures, like the gathering of evidence. This is meant to streamline the recovery process and make it more efficient.
There are 2 other MDLs currently pending against other hernia mesh manufacturers:
- An MDL against C.R. Bard, and
- An MDL against Ethicon.
In this article, our personal injury lawyers discuss:
- 1. Where is the Atrium hernia mesh MDL?
- 2. Who is the judge presiding over the MDL?
- 3. How can I join the Atrium hernia mesh MDL?
- 4. When are the MDL's bellwether trials scheduled?
- 5. What is the settlement process?
1. Where is the Atrium hernia mesh MDL?
The MDL against Atrium is moving through the federal district court in the District of New Hampshire. The Atrium case was the first federal MDL filed over defective hernia mesh products, starting on December 8, 2016. The full case name is:
The courthouse for the District of New Hampshire is the Warren B. Rudman Courthouse. It is located at 55 Pleasant Street, in Concord, NH.
This court was chosen to hear the Atrium MDL because:
- Atrium is headquartered in nearby Merrimack, New Hampshire,
- 7 of the 13 hernia mesh lawsuits that were pending when the MDL was created had been filed in the District of New Hampshire, and
- Both the plaintiffs and Atrium had asked for the MDL to be heard in New Hampshire.1
2. Who is the judge presiding over the MDL?
The Atrium hernia mesh MDL is being presided over by the Chief Judge of the District Court of New Hampshire, Landya B. McCafferty.
The Honorable Landya B. McCafferty was nominated to the federal court system by President Obama on May 23, 2013. She had been a federal magistrate judge in the District of New Hampshire before her nomination. Her confirmation process overcame delays and a filibuster in the U.S. Senate, and she was confirmed on December 12, 2013.2 In November, 2018, she became the Chief Judge of the District of New Hampshire. She is the first woman to be a district judge in New Hampshire, and the first to be the Chief Judge.3
The Atrium MDL is the first multidistrict litigation that Chief Judge McCafferty has presided over.4
3. How can I join the Atrium hernia mesh MDL?
People who have been hurt by a hernia mesh product in Atrium's C-Qur line can join the MDL in the District of New Hampshire. Discussing your options with a personal injury lawyer is the best way to make sure this is done correctly.
All lawsuits that seek to join the Atrium hernia mesh MDL have to be done electronically.5 The filing has to specifically ask to join the MDL, but cannot be filed in the MDL master docket.6 Pertinent documents and records have to be attached in searchable PDF format.7
Victims also have to fill out a Plaintiff Profile Form.8 This form includes information about you and the injuries you suffered, including:
- Your name, address, and contact information,
- Whether you have a spouse and whether you are seeking loss of consortium damages,
- Details about the hernia mesh device that was implanted,
- The surgeon that implanted the device and the hospital were the procedure was completed,
- Whether you needed a mesh removal procedure,
- Side effects you suffered, and
- Your medical history.9
Because Atrium has waived its arguments against proper venue and the service of summons, your complaint does not need to argue that the District Court of New Hampshire is the proper one for the case. It also does not have to be served on Atrium Medical Corp.
However, the MDL does not supplant your state's local statute of limitations.10 Instead, you have to abide by your state's statute, rather than New Hampshire's. Filing your claim in the MDL before your state's statute of limitations has expired is one of the most important parts of your case: If you let the statute expire, your case can quickly be dismissed.
4. When are the MDL's bellwether trials scheduled?
Bellwether trials in the Atrium hernia mesh MDL are scheduled to begin on February 19, 2020.11
These bellwether trials will be drawn from a selection of 16 cases in the MDL. The plaintiffs select 8 of them, and the defendants select the other 8.12
The bellwether trials are a common feature of an MDL. They take individual cases from the MDL and take them all the way through a jury trial. The outcome of the jury trial can influence subsequent settlement negotiations. A victory for the victim in a bellwether trial pushes the defendant into settling the remaining cases, even at higher amounts. A victory for the defendant tells plaintiffs that they might have a hard time winning their cases, lowering their potential settlement.
5. What is the settlement process?
As victims put together their cases against Atrium and discover new evidence, lawyers for both sides negotiate potential settlements. These settlements would end the entire MDL in exchange for a global settlement that would compensate the expected losses of the victims, including:
- Past medical expenses, including for hernia mesh removal procedures,
- Future medical bills for ongoing care related to an infection,
- Lost wages and lowered earning capacity,
- Mental anguish and physical pain, including for the chronic pain caused by the implant, and
- Loss of consortium.
When MDLs settle, though, they do not recover punitive damages for the defendant's culpable conduct.
The movement towards a global settlement gets more heated during bellwether trials. There, lawyers learn the strengths and weaknesses of their case, as well as how much a jury will give to a victim.
If a global settlement is reached, it creates a pool of money. Victims and plaintiffs can then fill out a plaintiff fact sheet. This records information about their particular case. It is used to create a matrix settlement, also known as a grid settlement. Certain factors from the fact sheet determine how much a particular victim recovers from the global settlement, including:
- Professional status and salary,
- Medical history,
- Marital status,
- Whether you have children, and
- Whether you needed a mesh removal surgery.
Call us for help…
Joining the MDL against Atrium is a serious decision to make. It can drastically impact the compensation you can recover in a lawsuit over your hernia mesh implant. Our personal injury lawyers can help you make an informed decision. Contact us today to explore your options.
See Ben Leubsdorf, “U.S. Senate confirms Landya McCafferty as new N.H. federal judge,” Concord Monitor December 14, 2013).
Press Release, “District Court for the District of New Hampshire Name the Honorable Landya B. McCafferty Next Chief Judge,” U.S. District Court of New Hampshire (November 1, 2018).
See note 1.
See note 6.
See note 8.
See note 11.