The filing of vaginal mesh lawsuits against different mesh manufacturers in the past few months, legal experts say, referring to court documents, has been going on at a swift pace. It has been observed that while new lawsuits have been multiplying, the litigation involving thousands of claims for the injuries suffered as a result of these devices has been proceeding quite smoothly.
To date, there have been three cases decided in courts, a number of claims settled out of court by defendants, and reported settlement talks between defendants in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) and plaintiffs.
Cases Decided in Courts
A total of $18.6 million in damages has been awarded so far to three plaintiffs in cases decided by juries in three different courts. Damages totaling $5.5 million was awarded to Christine Scott and her husband after a jury in California found C.R. Bard liable for the injuries she sustained after a vaginal mesh surgery using Avaulta surgical mesh.
A jury in New Jersey, early this year, found Ethicon responsible for the injuries suffered by Linda Gross after the repair of her pelvic organ prolapse (POP) using a Prolift vaginal mesh device. In the claim of Donna Cisson which was heard this August in West Virginia, the jury once again found C.R. Bard guilty.
A day before the vaginal mesh lawsuit of Wanda Queen was to start hearing in West Virginia, it was reported that C.R. Bard had decided to settle the claim of the plaintiff for an undisclosed amount. Another vaginal mesh lawsuit, this one filed by Melanie Virgil, was settled by the same mesh manufacturer before it can go on trial in a Superior Court in New Jersey.
In addition to these settlements, it was reported in June this year that Endo Solutions, the parent company of American Medical Systems, had allocated an amount of $54.5 million for the settlement of selected cases. It was reported that the agreement involved claimants handled by a Houston-based lawyer although the names of the claimants were not divulged in the filing made by Endo.
Certain companies involved in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in West Virginia were reported to be in settlement talks with lawyers of thousands of plaintiffs, according to online media sources. Except for Ethicon, the subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, the five other companies namely C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, Coloplast, and Cook Medical, were reported to be active in these negotiations.
The scheduling of vaginal mesh trials in different courts is one other positive development which is seen to provide encouragement to other women injured by vaginal mesh devices to file their complaints. Lined up for trials in December and the early months of 2014 in a West Virginia federal court are bellwether cases against major mesh manufacturers. Supposed to be included in these bellwether cases is a vaginal mesh claim against C.R. Bard which was dismissed upon the request of the plaintiffs.