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Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Heating Up—Litigation Update

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New York, NY: Over 40,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed in federal court involving vaginal mesh pelvic repair systems manufactured by multiple medical device companies. While some claims have been settled, a staggering 3,000 TVM lawsuits a month are still being filed.

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Heating Up—Litigation UpdateThousands upon thousands of women claiming injuries due to transvaginal mesh products have filed in multidistrict litigation in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia. As of January 2014, the following manufacturers have either settled some claims, begun bellwether trial proceedings or are scheduled for trial:

(Bellwether trials take place to help both plaintiffs and defendants by determining how juries are likely to respond to evidence and testimony presented. These trials are the norm in complex medical device litigation, particularly in the case of transvaginal mesh products involving multiple medical device companies. Representative cases for bellwether selection include women aged 40 and 60 years old at the time when they had the pelvic mesh surgeries, with three or less revision surgeries. A successful outcome typically indicates a global settlement.)

American Medical Systems (AMS)

AMS transvaginal mesh cases were scheduled to begin last December. AMS has already agreed to settle a number of cases for $54.5 million, and the company is expected to attempt a global settlement in many more of the 6,000 cases pending in federal court in West Virginia before Judge Joseph R. Goodwin (In re: C.R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation; MDL-2187, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia).

According to court documents, at least two bellwether trials resulted in compensation for the plaintiff. In August 2013, a jury awarded plaintiff Donna Cisson about $2 million in damages and plaintiff Wanda Queen settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Court documents also show that more than 14,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits now pending in the Southern District of West Virginia involve AMS. Every complainant alleges that AMS was used to treat pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, but their TVM surgery resulted in mesh erosion, organ damage, chronic pain and other serious vaginal mesh complications.

The first AMS bellwether trial is scheduled to begin on April 7, 2014. The second trial is set for May 5, 2014.

According to a Bloomberg report (September 30, 2013), Bard in September joined Endo Health Solutions (American Medical Systems), Boston Scientific, Cook Medical Systems and Coloplast in talks to settle tens of thousands of federal and state vaginal mesh lawsuits.

C.R. Bard (Avaulta)

C.R. Bard, the maker of Avaulta transvaginal mesh, settled the first of four bellwether trials (U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presiding) last summer with a $2 million verdict including punitive damages. Bard was accused of failing to warn women about the risk of side effects. The second trial resulted in an agreement to settle during the first trial day. The third trial was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff. Another bellwether trial slated for January 10, 2014 has been postponed until May 19, 2014 (Jones v. C.R. Bard, Inc., No. 2:11-cv-00114, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia).

More than 6,500 claims have been filed against Bard on behalf of women who suffered severe side effects allegedly due to its Avaulta mesh. Court documents indicate that an additional 940 Avaulta transvaginal mesh lawsuits pending in a multicounty litigation are underway in New Jersey (In re: Pelvic Mesh Litigation/Bard, No. L-6339-10).

Boston Scientific

Thousands of Boston Scientific Corp. (MDL No. 2326) transvaginal mesh lawsuits are pending in the Southern District of West Virginia, and the first Boston Scientific bellwether trial is slated for March 10, 2014. The second is set for trial on July 14, 2014.

A Pretrial Order dated December 19, 2014 has established that the Court schedule two “waves” of 100 cases each in discovery in the proceeding. The parties have each been directed to select 50 cases for each wave, with the selections for the first wave due by January 21, 2014. Second wave case selections are to be submitted by May 21, 2014. (In re: Boston Scientific Corp., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation - MDL No. 2326.)

The cases are limited to women who received only the Boston Scientific Obtryx, Advantage/Fit, Pinnacle or Uphold products, excluding cases where multiple different products were used.

Ethicon Gynecare

Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Ethicon Gynecare transvaginal mesh lawsuits are scheduled for trial in August 2014. Ethicon’s Prolift mesh went to trial in New Jersey and ended with the jury awarding the plaintiff $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages (In re: Pelvic Mesh/Gynecare Litigation, No. 6341-10; In re: Pelvic Mesh Litigation/Bard, No. L-6339-10).

The Ethicon MDL in West Virginia federal court is preparing for its first bellwether trial in February 2014, which involves about 13,000 cases. The selected case for the trial involves plaintiff Carolyn Lewis ( Lewis, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., 2:12-cv-04301). The Ethicon MDL is In re: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation MDL no. 2327 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

As well, Ethicon is being investigated by government agencies for making false claims and engaging in deceptive marketing of its surgical mesh. According to documents filed in In re: Ethicon Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation; MDL-2327, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, on January 23, 2014, the federal court overseeing the multidistrict litigation involving vaginal mesh products manufactured and sold by Ethicon heard arguments related to a motion accusing Ethicon and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, of either losing or destroying “at least tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of documents that likely contain information relevant to plaintiffs’ claims.”

Attorneys are closely watching bellwether trials - as they believe these cases will have an important impact on state and federal cases.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Ginny
on
I am a 42 year old woman - well; "so called woman". I had prolapse surgery two years ago. The surgery came just over a year into my marriage. It took away my ability to be the person I was and the wife I promised to be. I hurt all of the time in random spots throughout my abdomen. Less than a year after the surgery my mesh failed around my rectum. I spent every minute feeling as if I were being ripped open and violated. Revision surgery was the only option I was given. During this surgery to repair my rectum my doctor also discovered that the mesh had protruded through the top of my vagina. He "trimmed the edges and resealed my vaginal cavity" while he was "already in there". I had this procedure twice in a 13 month span and have been ruined for life. My divorce comes final this month . . . that's right . . . my divorce. I lost myself AND my husband. You can't expect a man my age to go without sex . . . even though I've been left with no choice. I always hoped to live a long life and grow old with someone . . . it seems different when you think about doing it alone and in pain.

Posted by
Anna Campbell
on
Its nice to hear your not the only one going through this, chronic pain, urinary issuses, no intimate relations, pain going down my legs, around my back, debilitating pain that never stops. Losing my job twice over it and being a single mom. After fighting for two years, im finally getting my first revision surgery after already going through two unnessesary surgeries one being a hysterectomy. I do have a lawsiut for the manufacturer but feel I've done most the work for it myself, i just pray for a decent compensation to make our lives easier and to make up for my life never gonna be the same. My daughter and i deserve thst much although no price can repay time and health, things ive missed with my child. But its the least the manufactuers owe us all.

Posted by
pam
on
Where do I begin .. Let's see I had surgery to remove a urethral diverticulum .. Then 6 months later I had a hysterectomy. . I had my bladder lifted 1 year after that .. They used the mesh and it corroded into my urethral and bladder ..I have had 4 surgeries to remove the mesh .. And as for sex it's to painful.. I have to wear depends.. They have told me there is nothing more that they can do for me because of all of the surgeries I have had .. I was sent to a doctor in another state ..Was in the hospital for 8 days..Was send home with a catheter and had to travel back and forth to another state to get a check up once a week ... (FOR 8 WEEKS ) Oh not to mention I am allergic to pain meds .. So surgeries are unbearable. They have ruined my life my husband's life all for the mighty dollar .. My heart goes out to all you ladies .. I WOULD LOVE TO BE NORMAL AGAIN .. .

Posted by
Marsha. Murray
on
I HAD THE TRANSVAGINA SURGERY ON 8/18/2008. IT IS THE WOST SURGERY; I EVER HAD.I NEED ANOTHER ONE TO CORRECT. I HAVE SEVER PAIN , IT SMELLS LIKE SOMETHING CRAWLD UP IN ME & DIED.HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO HAVE SEX SINCE 12//2008 . MY BADDER FELL THAT QUICK.I AM SUFFERING FROM A LOT OF; INFECTION'S AS WELL. I DO NOT HAVE A ATTORNEY. EVERYONE CONTACTING ME WANTING TO CASH IN ON MY MISFORTUNE. ONE ATTORNEY TOLD ME THEY WOULD GET 75 0/0 OF; THE WINNINGS. THEY ALSO WANTED ME TO FIND OUT WHICH MESH WAS USED ON ME. IN OTHER WORDS; I WOULD DO ALL THE LEG WORK WHILE THEY RIPPED ME OFF. I ALSO GOT A CALL THEY SAID MY CASE WAS SETTLED FOR;$9, 800. I HAVE NOT GOTTEN A DIME FOR; MY PAIN & SUFFERING.I DON'T KNOW HOW TO FIND OUT IF; I DID GET SOMETHING OR IF THEY SETTLED & WHO DID THEY SETTLE WITH IT SURE WAS NOT ME. WHEN THIS LAWSUIT CAME TO LIGHT EVERY ONE & THEIR MOTHER CAME OUT OF THE WOODWORK. IF U DID SETTLE WHERE IS MY MONEY? MY # 8173900179. I DO NOT THINK IT IS FARE THAT A ATTORNEY GETS MOORE THAN I DO. I AM THE ONE WHO HAS TO SUFFER MY WHOLE LIFE FROM THIS. PLEASE CONTACT ME. I AM IN FORT WORTH TX. THANK U SINCERELY MARSHA MURRAY. H- E - L-P M- E.!!!!!!! I HAVE NEVER HAD TO FILE A LAWSUIT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO! !!!!!!!!!!! I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO HAVE TO GET A ATTORNEY WHEN THEY R GOING TO RIP ME OFF.ALWAYS SOMEONE WANTING TO CASH IN ON U R MISFORTUNE OR WHEN U WIN . I INTEND ON KEEPING IT TO MYSELF. WHAT MAKES PEOPLE THINK ; I DON'T NEED THE MONEY. THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT I AM GOING THUR. NO AMOUNT OF MONEY IS GOING TO CORRECT THE DAMAGE THAT HAS BEEN DONE. I DO NEED THE MONEY. ON TOP OF; THIS MESH LAWSUIT ; I AM DISABLED MY CAR BROKE DOWN IT NEEDS A NEW MOTOR. I AM UNABLE TO WALK MOORE THAN A FEW STEPS. LESS THAN HALF A BLOCK. OH YES THIS BLADDER MESH IS CAUSING PAIN IN MY LEGS AS WELL. THIS IS JUST A FEW PROBLEMS RIGHT OFF; THE TOP OF; MY HEAD. SO R U WILLING TO HELP ME. IF SO CALL ME OR E MAIL ME.

Posted by
LetMe121363
on
Thank you! All who have posted here. These are the problems I have. In severe pain since 2006. Lawyers wouldn't talk to me. Doctors refuse me... they've taken away my life and no one seems to care. SSI said they can't help me, I'm not blind or dead. People keep saying, go to welfare. Now there is a joke! They wouldn't even give me food stamps! I lost my job over this, just when I thought I would be able to finally get help. No one seems to understand what it means to be deprived of an intimate relationship and also be in severe pain 24/7. I can't sit down comfortably or even lay down to sleep. I get so exhausted, I doze off anywhere but when meds wear off, I wake up crying or moaning in pain. I can't stand this anymore... just want the pain to stop, so maybe I could smile again. Unbelievable what these companies did to us for their almighty bottom line. WE ARE NOT YOUR LAB RATS!!!

Posted by
Katey
on
Dear Woundedwoman and Friend:
I totally understand what you are saying and am so sorry this has happened. My story is very similar yet not exact.
Because of the run around I received for 11 years ending with the original surgeon telling me last February that "nothing was wrong with the sling; there was something wrong with me instead". She was so angry - indignant really and left me feeling bewildered and ashamed. I had to use a self-catheter for the last 2 years and she said nothing is wrong with me? Even after witnessing the same thing in the exam room? She's nuts! It was then that I decided to leave the area for an unbiased opinion and surgery. There I received honest answers and solutions. I had an extremely successful surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

I would still be sick had I not left the area. They are all just covering for each other. It is immoral and unethical at best. They play Russian roulette with our wellbeing and lives because of these spoken or unspoken allegiances that they have with each other.

I would like to say, that I have had excellent care for other matters but as of late finding someone who really takes the oath seriously can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Finding the best care we can is paramount. You deserve your health and life back. My immune system changed dramatically and began on the surgeon's table. Honestly. Everything began to make sense and add up for the first time in a decade plus.

I wish I could be of more help. Dr. Vatche Minassian in the Urogynecology Dept at B&WH Boston is the best I know of and perhaps calling there could lead to your recovery somehow. He is a masterful surgeon and a wonderful human being. His assistants are very helpful and go to great lengths to be of service to the patient. They have the right mindset.

http://www.brighamandwomens.org/ 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115
(617) 732-5500

Best of luck and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by
Woundedwoman
on
I am one of the victims suffering chronic pain, and a multitude of problems effecting my entire health since my TVM surgery. Yes I definitely hold the manufactures accountable. And it well take multiple surgeries to give me back my womanhood not only removal of the mesh but rebuilding a closed " Vault" my vagina no longer exist.
I am so angry, and my anger does not stop with the manufacturer , it continues to the multiples of doctors who stuck their head in the sand and failed to recognize what the problems were that so many of us women were going through. Why should we have been tossed around like a football, sent from one type of doctor to another type of doctor , because they refuse to make a diagnoses, is it because they are afraid they well have to go to court and testify. Is it that the doctors no longer work to help the patient but to do the least as possible to save the insurance company $. Why do we the women with the health problems that know our bodies, have to dig and research and find the answers, and then again dig research to try to find a doctor that we feel we can trust to see us and care and diagnose. I have finally found 3 doctors. Two want cash first, and they well bill your insurance for you, and then you can be reimbursed. Finally I have found one that has accepted my insurance, this doctor wants to get me off some of the narcotics I have been being issued , get some anesthesia blocks and physical therapy , prior to begin to attempt to get the mesh out, she feels my condition is very deliberate. That the only thing I have down where my vagina is suppose to be is bowl. I have known depression, but now to hear I don't even have a vagina. I am not married, I have not dated since the surgery. I found some old notes the other night from late 2002 where I was still having trouble after the surgery, the urologist even had to dial ate me at that time. I had leg pain that began in 2002. This is 2014, I can barely get out and walk my dog around to go potty. I have no energy I am anemic, it has attacked my auto immune
system. I feel so alone. I don't have energy to go out and do things. I have quit applying make up, I don't fix myself up like I use to because I spend most my time lying around. I don't have friends beside FB, and they don't have a clue what is going on with me. I don't have a very good car and the great doctor I found is 75 miles away. So 150 round trip. I thought I could go to any pain clinic for the anesthia blocks , but that is not so, so that may be another 150 RT and then it is a specialized physical therapy so again it may be a long ways. I don't know if I am going to be able to get this done. I used to work with several residents from UCLA, and I am considering writing them and seeing if one of them can get me into [the doctor]. I want this stuff out of my body, it is killing me. I feel like I have knives stabbing me at the area where this mesh is tied off the bone called the rami. I have low grown pain where the ovaries would set but I have no ovaries, it is severe pain not cramps, severe like cyst like with endrometreotis . I was always type A personality, now I don't think I have a personality. I want to live again and I want energy and I want to live pain free. How did this happen, how did this get approved and on the market to be put in our bodies. I spent a lot of years as a single mother thinking I would remarry after my kids were grown, then I took care of sick parents. Now I have a wrecked body- so what man wants a woman that doesn't even have a vagina anymore.

Posted by
Troy Kieffer
on
Do No Harm ! That is what we expect from our doctors. Not to end up being mutilated, take our womanhood away and leave us with bodies feeling like there is a knife stuck in both sides of you pelvic floor.
I wonder what these men who manufactured these bladder slings would thing if someone cut off their manhood ( their penis ) and took a screw and placed it in each testicle to keep it there. Then later said oh by the way you won't ever be having sex you have nothing left.
This is what has happened to a lady I love dearly.
The above plus she has an autoimmune disease that is effecting her organs. I think this entire mess is going to kill her. For what to get rid of a leaking bladder after having a cough for a long time.
There is not enough $ in this world to make these women lives alright again. But they should be awarded everything the law can allow so they can try to enjoy whatever time they have left and maybe find a doctor that can help them, as it has been going to this doctor to the next doctor, they don't know what to do and they just don't say so. Or else they are scared they well end up in a courtroom as an expert witness, testifying to what they did or did not find when examine their patient.

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