$1.5 Million Verdict in Hernia Patch Case Upheld in Federal Court

A Rhode Island federal judge denied the Defendant’s motion for a new trial in the second  case in the Kugel mesh hernia patch litigation.  In February 2011, Judge Mary M. Lisi upheld a $1.5 million jury verdict in the case.  Judge Lisi held that expert testimony presented by Christopher Thorpe, the Plaintiff, was admissible and sufficient to show that the Composix Kugel Mesh hernia patch had been negligently designed by Davol, Inc., a division of C.R. Bard.    Judge Lisi further held:

It is clear that [the expert’s] ultimate conclusion would have carried more weight, had it been supported by general acceptance or peer reviewed literature.  However, the reasoning and methodology by which he arrived at his ultimate conclusion were sufficiently grounded in scientific knowledge and supported by factual evidence, thus making his testimony admissible.

Plaintiff Christopher Thorpe suffered an abdominal wall abscess and fistula when two plastic rings on his hernia repair patch broke.  Thorpe filed suit against Davol under North Carolina product liability law, claiming that the rings should have been made stronger to resist the stress of the healing process, especially the contraction of the scar tissue.  There are approximately 2,500 hernia patch lawsuits pending in state and federal courts in Rhode Island, which is Davol’s home state.  The Thorpe case was chosen as the second bellwether trial after being consolidated in multi-district litigation under Judge Lisi in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.  The first Darvol trial resulted in a Defense verdict.

In August 2010, a jury awarded Mr. Thorpe $1.3 million for his injuries and $200,000 to his wife for her loss of consortium. Judge Lisi held that there was insufficient evidence to find Davol liable based on the alternative ground of inadequate warning.  Furthermore, the court found that no evidence to justify punitive damages under North Carolina law.

Boyd B. Newton is an Atlanta Product Liability Attorney that specializes in this type of case.  You can visit us online at http://www.injurylawyerofatlanta.com for more information.

Source: Lawyers USA Online