Vaginal Mesh and Litigation Status
As a result of numerous suits filed by women for injuries sustained from transvaginal mesh, the Federal Court system placed these cases in a consolidated system and the MDL panel assigned these cases to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia under Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.
Judge Goodwin was appointed a Federal Judge by President Clinton in 1995. He was born in 1942 in Ripley, West Virginia, and attended West Virginia University where he obtained his undergraduate and law degrees.
MDL cases occur when “civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact are pending in different districts.” In order to efficiently process cases that could involve hundreds (or thousands) of plaintiffs in dozens of different federal courts which all share common issues, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decides whether cases should be consolidated under MDL and where to transfer the cases. Cases subject to MDL are sent from one court, known as the transferor, to another, known as the transferee, for all pretrial proceedings and discovery. If a case is not settled or dismissed in the transferee court, it is remanded (i.e., sent back) to the transferor court for trial. Thus, many women have filed their suits in a local federal court but the case has been transferred to Judge Goodwin’s where pretrial discovery is proceeding on issues common to all of the cases. The MDL statute is 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in the United States Code.
Pursuant to Court Order, the Plaintiff’s were required to fill out a Fact Sheet that provides background information regarding their medical care, implantation, revision surgery, injuries, and some limited personal background. Discovery is proceeding in the cases. Because of the huge volume of cases, discovery disputes in the cases were assigned to a magistrate, which is presently Hon. Cheryl A. Eifert. The next status conference in the case is set for 10 am on May 23, 2013.
Over 12,000 Transvaginal Mesh cases are pending in Federal MDL.
According to the MDL statistics as of March 5, 2013, Judge Goodwin has the following cases;
Number of Cases
|MDL – 2187, IN RE: C.R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation|
|MDL – 2325, IN RE: American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation|
|MDL – 2326 IN RE: Boston Scientific Corp. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation|
|MDL – 2327 IN RE: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation|
|MDL – 2387 IN RE: Coloplast Corp. Pelvic Support Systems Products Liability Litigation|
Another MDL, against Mentor Corp. for its ObTape vaginal sling, is taking place in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. MDL No. 2004 presided over by Judge Clay D. Land.
Transvaginal Mesh Trials and Jury Verdicts
There have been two trials so far, both resulting in Plaintiff’s verdicts. However, the facts in these cases are different from many of the pending cases. In July 2012, a California jury awarded Christine Scott and her husband $5.5 million after she underwent nine revision surgeries. Scott sued C.R. Bard in 2009 over its Avaulta Plus mesh product. In February 2013, Linda Gross won $11.11 million in her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon brand over its Prolift vaginal mesh product. Gross had 18 surgeries. The New Jersey jury found that J&J failed to warn patients and doctors about the risks of its mesh products and made fraudulent misrepresentations.
Discovery is continuing in the MDL leading up to projected trials in the near future. According to the Court website, there are four bellwether trials set in the Bard MDL beginning on Monday, July 8, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Room 7800 of the Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse. At this time, the court plans to try the cases consecutively in the following order:
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
Over 10,000 women have filed suits detailing their injuries from the mesh inserted in them. We believe that ultimately the cause of their injuries will be shown to be the defects in the mesh products and the absence of appropriate warnings. If you would like more information, check the video below, go to our website, or contact us at 1-800-481-1615 or email us.