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AMS Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Increasing—Moving to Settlement?

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Malvern, PABetween state and federal transvaginal mesh claims, Pennsylvania-based Endo Health Solutions now faces about 13,500 of its AMS transvaginal mesh claims, according to an American Medical Systems spokesman.

Earlier in 2013, Endo officials paid $54.5 million to settle a number of cases alleging the company’s vaginal-mesh inserts, specificially AMS transvaginal mesh products Perigree, Apogee and Elevate, were defective.

Another 30,000 vaginal mesh federal lawsuits have already been filed and consolidated before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston, West Virginia. Patients have asked Goodwin to appoint a settlement committee. According to one legal expert, “The liability seems pretty clear on these cases, so settlement makes sense. Given how serious the injuries are and the number of cases, when you do the math, you can easily come up with a multibillion-dollar settlement.”

Transvaginal mesh attorneys representing women suing over more than 50 different implants manufactured by six different companies, including AMS, have recommended that Goodwin tap a group of transvaginal mesh (TVM) plaintiff lawyers, including Henry Garrard, lead counsel on the Avaulta Bard cases, and Joe Rice, an attorney instrumental in negotiating a $246 billion tobacco-litigation accord on behalf of state attorneys general, according to Bloomberg (September 30, 2013). “I know you all are considering settlement protocols and the possibility of resolutions,” Judge Goodwin said at a September 18 court hearing. He noted that the talks were going on “behind the scenes.”

AMS transvaginal mesh will be first on Rice’s agenda. Los Angeles-based lawyer Ellen Reisman is defending AMS; she has litigated some of the largest mass tort matters in history, including BP’s Gulf oil spill settlement and she was a lead negotiator for Wyeth in National Diet Drug Class Action Settlement Brown v. American Home Products, No. 99-20593, E.D. Pa.

Several bellwether trials are continuing into 2013 for Bard Avaulta mesh (the purpose of the bellwether trials is to settle TVM cases, and some settlement agreements have already been reached to avoid costly and lengthy individual trials), and then trials are scheduled and continuing into 2014 for lawsuits involving TVM products manufactured by AMS, Boston Scientific and Ethicon.

By the end of September 2013, transvaginal mesh injury lawsuits have consolidated and coordinated in six individual multidistrict litigations (MDLs) established in the federal court system, making transvaginal mesh claims against the medical device manufacturers the largest pending litigation in the US.

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