So far approximately 35,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed against six different device manufacturers alleging that the mesh products are defective and resulted in severe injuries due to erosion of the mesh.
Vaginal mesh products are surgically implanted for treatment or pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or urinary stress incontinence (SUI). Many women have undergone surgery to have both mesh types removed.
In federal court, the vaginal mesh lawsuits have been consolidated into six different multidistrict litigations (MDLs) organized by manufacturer. All of the MDLs are in the federal court for the Southern District of West Virginia. The MDLs are presided over by district court Judge Robert Goodwin.
US District Judge Robert Goodwin, who is overseeing the MDLs, had originally suggested individual trials of bellwether cases, which would be those most representative of all the lawsuits against the four manufacturers with the oldest and largest number of cases.
This year, CR Bard, the manufacturer of Avaulta, Faslata, Pelvicol and PelviSoft Products was the first to have trials heard as bellwethers. On August 15, a jury awarded $2 million including punitive damages in the first bellwether case against CR Bard. Bard settled the second bellwether case out of court. The third lawsuit was withdrawn by plaintiffs. The fourth bellwether case against CR Bard is scheduled to go to trial on December 3, 2013.
Bellwether trials in the MDLs against American Medical Systems, Inc., Ethicon Inc. (a division of Johnson & Johnson) and Boston Scientific Corp. are scheduled to be tried next year.
On June 14, American Medical Systems agreed to pay $54.5 million to settle some cases. However, the settlement didn't resolve the majority of the more than 10,000 pending against American Medical's subsidiary Endo Health Solutions Inc. Because a broad settlement of outstanding cases could take a long time, Judge Goodwin has indicated he wishes to speed up the process, and has asked attorneys to suggest a way to consolidate the remaining cases for trial.
Additional lawsuits continued to be filed against the defendants, with as many as 60,000 lawsuits expected to be filed.