Bard Faces Future after Cisson Verdict

In 2012, Bard lost its first vaginal mesh case and was ordered to pay $3.6 million following the California state court jury’s decision.  On August 15, 2013, a West Virginia jury ordered Bard to pay $2 million to Donna Cisson for her injuries due to her use of what the jury found to be the defective Avaulta product.  Thousands more vaginal mesh claims are building up against Bard in the MDL proceedings in Judge Goodwin’s court in West Virginia.

Timothy RingTimothy M. Ring is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for C. R. Bard, Inc., serving in that capacity since August 8, 2003.  He joined Bard in June 1992 as Corporate Vice President and has steadily risen through the ranks to assume corporate leadership.  Prior to Bard, he worked ten years at Abbott labs in personnel positions and before that was with General Motors.  He has a degree in Industrial relations from Cornell.

C.R. Bard Inc. stock closed at approximately $111 per share on August 16, 2013.  Shares are up about 16% for 2013 year to date.  Currently there are 5 analysts that rate C.R. Bard a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 12 rate it a hold.  It is a global company with 12,000 employees and business operations in 90 countries.  In the first quarter of 2013, the stock made a profit of $90.7 million dollars.  In the second quarter of 2013, the company reported a loss of $161.6 million because it took a $275.1 million litigation charge for product liability charges that virtually wiped out its profits.  In the remainder of 2013, Bard anticipates receiving payments from W.R. Gore & Associates, which has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to C.R. Bard as a result of a patent infringement case related to prosthetic vascular grafts used in bypass procedures.  In June 2013, Bard reached a deal to sell its electrophysiology business for$275 million dollars to Boston Scientific.  On August 19, 2013 Bard announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Medafor, Inc., a leading developer and supplier of plant-based hemostatic agents for the purchase price of $200 million.

No doubt, Bard, like many similar companies faced with massive suits, did focus groups trying out its best arguments on mock juries, and then tailored those arguments as they applied them to the actual cases.  However Bard has now seen what two real juries have thought of its efforts to say there was nothing wrong with the Avaulta mesh product, they acted reasonably, and the pain the women are suffering is really from something else.  Bard gets another chance immediately as the next Avaulta Plus vaginal mesh lawsuit is slated to begin in West Virginia on August 19, 2013.

Soon Bard will learn the lessons of history.  Perhaps Mr. Ring will see the inevitable tide advancing and do the right thing for the injured women, their families, and the Bard shareholders.