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Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit Update

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits
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Thousands of lawsuits have been filed by women across the country who underwent transvaginal mesh surgeries to repair pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence following serious injuries from the procedures.   The lawsuits allege that various manufacturers failed to safely design and test the vaginal mesh devices and did not adequately warn women about the risks of injury. The complainants have alleged serious injuries resulting from implantation including chronic pain, organ perforation, infection, and device erosion.

The transvaginal mesh multi-district litigation is one of the largest mass tort litigations in history and involves many of the major mesh manufacturers including CR Bard, Boston Scientific, American Medical Systems and Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon).  Many bellwether trials have been scheduled and some cases have already been settled.

Vaginal mesh lawsuits began to mount after the FDA issued alerts in 2010 and 2011 about the risk of serious injuries associated with transvaginal mesh devices.

The following is a summary of upcoming trials that have been scheduled by the court.  Bellwether trials are presumed to be indicative of how juries might rule in similar cases.

American Medical Systems (AMS)

MDL No. 2325 | In Re American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation – U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.  

More than 16,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed in the Southern District of West Virginia involving AMS.  The complainants allege that their AMS transvaginal mesh surgeries, used to treat pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, resulted in mesh erosion, organ damage, chronic pain and other serious vaginal mesh complications.

According to a pre-trial order issued by the court on December 12, 2013, the first four bellwether cases have been scheduled to begin on April 7, 2014 and May 5, 2014, in the following order:

Serrano v. AMS, Inc., et al.  2:12-cv-03719
Jilovec v. AMS, Inc.  2:12-cv-05561
Weiler v. AMS, Inc. 2:12-cv-05836
Fontes, et al. v. AMS, Inc.  2:12-cv-02472

On January 24, 2014, the court ordered the another set of bellwether cases to be scheduled for August 19, 2014, as a primary case and back-up case respectively:

Stephanie Najor v. AMS, Inc. 2:12-cv-6722
Bonnie Pattison v. AMS, Inc. 2:12-cv-7154

A number of cases have already been settled by AMS for millions of dollars and it is expected that the Company will attempt to enter into a global settlement of thousands more currently pending in the West Virginia federal court.

C.R. Bard (Avaulta)

MDL No. 2187 | In Re C. R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation – U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.  

More than 7,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed in the Southern District of West Virginia involving Bard. The complainants allege that they suffered severe side effects from the Avaulta transvaginal mesh systems, which Bard failed to properly warn women about.

The court set the following four bellwether trials in the Bard MDL 2187:

Cisson, et al. v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:11-cv-00195
Queen, et al. v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:11-cv-00012
Rizzo, et al. v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:10-cv-01224
Jones v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:11-cv-00114

The first and second trials have been settled for multiple-million dollar damages.  The third trial was voluntarily dismissed.  The fourth bellwether trail, Jones v. C.R. Bard, Inc. (2:11-cv-0114), has been postponed several times and has been most recently rescheduled for May 19, 2014. 

Thousands of vaginal mesh lawsuits are pending against Bard in the MDL litigation in the U.S. District court of West Virginia and an additional 940 Avaulta transvaginal mesh lawsuits are pending in a multicounty litigation in New Jersey (In re: Pelvic Mesh Litigation/Bard, No. L-6339-10).

Boston Scientific, Corp. (Pinnacle and Obtryx)

MDL No. 2326 | In Re Boston Scientific Corp. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation – U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.  

More than 10,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed in the Southern District of West Virginia involving Boston Scientific Corp. The complainants allege that they suffered severe side effects from the Avaulta transvaginal mesh systems, which Bard failed to properly warn women about.

On August 29, 2013, the court selected the following bellwether trials for this MDL:

Carol Lynn Fawcett, et al. v. Boston Scientific Corp.  2:12-cv-07497 (Pinnacle)
Roseanne Sanchez, et al. v. Boston Scientific Corp. 2:12-cv-05762 (Pinnacle)
Carolyn F. Smothers v. Boston Scientific Corp. 2:12-cv-08016 (Obtryx)
Katherine L. Hall v. Boston Scientific Corp.  2:12-cv-08186 (Obtryx)

The first round of Boston Scientific bellwether trials, currently scheduled for March 10, 2014, involving injuries related to the use of Pinnacle mesh products, were recently cancelled. The second round of trials, involving the Obtryx pelvic mesh devices, is currently set for trial on July 14, 2014.

Johnson & Johnson / Ethicon, Inc.  (Gynecare)

MDL No. 2327 | In Re Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation – U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.  

More than 16,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed in the Southern District of West Virginia involving Ethicon.

There are two upcoming bellwether trials currently set in the Ethicon MDL 2327, with backup cases named:

Huskey, et al. v. Ethicon, Inc., et al.,2:12-cv-05201
(Backup:  Edwards, et al. v. Ethicon, Inc., et al., 2:12-cv-09972)

Bellew v. Ethicon, Inc., et al.,2:13-cv-22473
(Backup: Lehrer v. Ethicon, Inc., et al., 2:12-cv-08157)

The first bellwether trial in Lewis, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., 2:12-cv-04301, which commenced on February 10, 2014 at 8:30 a.m, was recently thrown out by Judge Goodwin..

The second bellwether trial in Huskey, et al. v. Ethicon, Inc., et al.,2:12-cv-05201 is scheduled for June 23, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. If the Huskey case has settled or is otherwise not ready for trial, Edwards, et al. v. Ethicon, Inc., et al., 2:12-cv-09972, case will proceed to trial instead.

The third bellwether trial in Bellew v. Ethicon, Inc., et al.,2:13-cv-22473 is scheduled for December 4, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. in. If the Bellew case has settled or is otherwise not ready for trial, the Lehrer v. Ethicon, Inc., et al., 2:12-cv-08157, case will proceed to trial instead.

Ethicon transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been consolidated in New Jersey state court. One Ethicon case previously went to trial over the company’s Prolift mesh device.  In March 2013, a jury awarded the plantiff $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages.  (Gross v. Gynecare Inc., Atl-L-6966-10, Superior Court of Atlantic County, New Jersey).

If you or a loved one has suffered complications from a transvaginal mesh surgery, contact Audet and Partners, LLP at (800) 965-1461 for a free consultation about your legal options. You can also fill out the confidential case inquiry form on our website page to receive more information or a follow-up call from our attorneys.