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Federal Mesh Lawsuit Nearing 6,000 Plaintiffs

Defective Medical Devices

Victims of transvaginal mesh have additional time to file a product liability action.

Rulings in multidistrict litigation (MDL) have extended the discovery time deadlines in the pre-trial process and pushed back a deadline for the lawsuits to begin.

The Honorable Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, in the Southern District of West Virginia allowed more time to gather evidence in the lawsuits against mesh manufacturer, C.R. Bard. In issuing an Order authorizing the Master and Short Form Complaints, Judge Goodwin hopes to eliminate delays and fast-track the process of transferring a lawsuit from another jurisdiction.

This allows the injured to list their complications so the cases can be assigned to the correct MDL. Also consolidated in federal court in West Virginia are thousands of cases against Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson) MDL No. 2327; American Medical Systems MDL No. 2325; Boston Scientific MDL No. 2326; and C.R. Bard MDL No. 2187.

The sixth MDL concerning the defective Mentor OB Tape is before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

As of September 30, 2012, there were 5,597 lawsuits filed against the five makers of defective surgical mesh. Expect that number to continue growing as more women realize they have become victims of a medical device that underwent no premarket approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In August, the Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the Coloplast transvaginal mesh cases be transferred to the federal court before Judge Goodwin. These cases, as the other MDLs, had common questions of fact and therefore the lawyers from both sides could share the discovery evidence and testimony.

If an adequate settlement is not offered, the plaintiffs have the option to their own individual trial.

The bellwether cases should set the tone for litigation to follow.

The second set of bellwether cases will be heard June 24, 2013 while the first bellwether trial over Bard Avaulta mesh is scheduled for trial February 5, 2013.

A California state case resulted in a $5 million jury award for Christine Scott and $500,000 in damages to her husband. All eyes will be watching to see if this case is an early indicator of how the others will play out.

In some cases women have received a mesh implant from more than one manufacturer. In that case, the complaint will be filed with the first defendant mentioned in the short form complaint, which are available on the federal court’s website. The Short Form Complaint adopts the factual allegations and legal claims established by the Master Complaint.

The complications associated with synthetic polypropylene transvaginal mesh used to treat female organ prolapse and incontinence include debilitating pain, nerve entrapment, bleeding, mesh migration, vaginal scarring and shortening and emotional injuries, among other complications.

Many women cannot work and have become disabled. In the end, many say there is no amount of money that will return their quality of life to them.

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