PROVIDENCE, R.I. - (Mealey's) The second Kugel surgical patch bellwether trial went to the plaintiff Aug. 23 when a Rhode Island federal court jury awarded $1.5 million to a man who claims that the device caused him internal injuries (In Re: Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1842, No. 07-1842, Christopher Thorpe v. C.R. Bard, Inc., et al., No. 08-463, D. R.I.).
A jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, where the Kugel multidistrict litigation is centralized, found that manufacturing defendants Davol Inc. and C.R. Bard Inc. inadequately designed the Kugel patch and failed to warn plaintiff Christopher Thorpe or his doctor that the device could fail. The jury awarded Thorpe $1.3 million and his wife, Laure Thorpe, $200,000 for loss of consortium.
Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi, who presided over the 12-day trial, struck Thorpe's request for punitive damages.
The Composix Kugel Hernia Patch is an oval piece of surgical mesh that is held in position by a plastic "memory" ring. It is used to cover hernias - typically openings in the abdominal wall - and attached with sutures or tacks to keep it in place and prevent internal organs from squeezing through the hernia opening.
The rings were recalled amid reports that the plastic rings were breaking and the edges causing internal injuries such as infections. In 2007, federal cases were centralized in the District of Rhode Island.
Thorpe alleged that the patch was defective because one of the two plastic rings used to maintain the shape of the patch broke, causing the patch to become folded and adhere to abdominal tissue.
The defendants argued that Thorpe had a history of abdominal problems. They argued that the implanting surgeon folded the patch in Thorpe's abdomen, against the defendants' instructions for use, which caused Thorpe's subsequent problems.
In addition, the defendants cited deposition testimony that the patch or its broken rings did not cause Thorpe's problems.
[Editor's Note: Full coverage will be in the Sept. 2 issue of Mealey's Emerging Drugs & Devices. For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]
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