Rhode Island jury finds defendants liable for personal injury damages in hernia repair patch lawsuit

PROVIDENCE, RI - Motley Rice LLC, one of the nation's largest plaintiffs' litigation firms, today announces that a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island found defendants Davol, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc. liable for injuries suffered by plaintiffs Christopher and Laure Thorpe as a result of the unreasonable design of the Composix® Kugel® Mesh hernia repair patch. Represented by Motley Rice attorney Don Migliori and co-counsel Ernie Cory of Cory, Watson, Crowder & DeGaris, P.C., the plaintiffs were awarded $1.3 million by the jury for personal injury damages and another $200,000 for loss of consortium.

The case, Christopher Thorpe and Laure Thorpe v. Davol, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc., was the second case to go to trial out of thousands of cases filed against Composix® Kugel® Mesh hernia patch manufacturer Davol and parent company C.R. Bard in MDL No. 07-1842 ML, Rhode Island federal court's first consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL). Before Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi, it was argued that Mr. Thorpe suffered severe internal injuries caused by a broken plastic ring on the hernia repair patch, including an abdominal wall abscess and fistula. 

"It's unfortunate that these companies so repeatedly failed to accept responsibility for the damage caused by their product, and what we saw here today was justice," said Motley Rice attorney Don Migliori, who represents the plaintiffs and is co-lead counsel and liaison counsel in the hernia patch MDL. "The jury analyzed the objective facts to ultimately arrive at a just result, and we commend its decision to hold both Davol and C. R. Bard accountable."

Mr. Thorpe's injuries required him to undergo multiple surgeries to repair the damage caused by the defective hernia patch, injuries from which he continues to suffer due to the serious nature of the physical damage caused by the patch. The jury found that the defendants' unreasonable design of the patch proximately caused Mr. Thorpe's injuries and that the defendants' negligence proximately caused Laure Thorpe to lose the consortium of her husband as a result of his injuries and subsequent physical and emotional suffering.

"Today was an important day for my family and me," said plaintiff Christopher Thorpe. "We would like to express our gratitude to God for our attorneys and their constant efforts throughout this trial, for the many other attorneys who worked behind the scenes, and for the jury, whose verdict restored our faith in the U.S. justice system. We believe that this jury is sending a strong message to companies producing harmful products - that they can and will be held accountable."

Between December 2005 and March 2006, specific lot numbers of defective Composix® Kugel® Mesh hernia repair patches were recalled after it was found that the memory recoil ring, which opens the patch, could potentially break under the stress of placement in the intra-abdominal space and lead to chronic intestinal problems such as bowel perforations and chronic intestinal fistulae (abnormal connections or passageways between the intestines and other organs). Thousands of patients across the country ultimately filed lawsuits against Davol and Bard after suffering a wide array of serious medical complications allegedly caused by the defective patches. The lawsuits were eventually consolidated in In re Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch Products Liability Litigation in 2007.

The two remaining cases selected for early bellwether trials in the federal Composix® Kugel® hernia patch litigation are scheduled to begin in November 2010 and January 2011.

Prior results are not necessarily indicative of future outcomes.