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Avaulta Transvaginal Mesh Trials Begin

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Charleston, WVThe first transvaginal mesh trial against C.R. Bard and its Avaulta Transvaginal Mesh product was set for February 5, 2013. The push is on to get Bard’s device and other vaginal mesh products off the market before they can do further harm.

Unfortunately for possibly thousands of women who were implanted with transvaginal mesh, the harm cannot be undone. (The FDA has received well over 1,000 reports of complications associated with Bard Avaulta since 2005.) What these women can do, however, is to file a lawsuit against Bard and other manufacturers. Women who claim to have received defective Avaulta mesh products are typically seeking damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, loss of consortium and permanent disability.

Hundreds of Avaulta mesh lawsuits are being filed as part of multidistrict litigations or MDL’s, including C.R. Bard, Inc. (MDL No. 2187) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia under Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. Because so many transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed, MDLs have been set up to consolidate the lawsuits against the various mesh manufacturers. And for many plaintiffs, this is a good thing.

Transvaginal Mesh Multidistrict Litigation vs Class Action

In an MDL, cases have been placed into groups that involve similar claims against common defendants. In the transvaginal mesh cases, five manufacturers are involved so five MDLs have been established with one judge. Due to the similarities, these cases are often referred to as mass torts. And transferring them to a single court helps the federal courts system proceed more efficiently and more economically.

A class action is a single lawsuit and any jury award or settlement is divided among the participants. A class-action lawsuit does have benefits: it requires less commitment than joining an MDL and it can provide a decent opportunity for settlement. However, if a plaintiff prefers to have more participation in their individual cases and proceeds in an MDL, they typically receive a higher award that more closely reflects their actual losses than a class-action settlement.

Transvaginal Mesh Trial

One recent expert testimony in New Jersey Superior Court (Feb 4, 2013) is particularly damaging to Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit and potentially other transvaginal mesh defendants.

Dr Uwe Klinge, a world-renowned expert on the biocompatibility of surgical mesh, explained to a jury during a talk he delivered in 2005 to J&J. Dr Klinge told the manufacturer’s Ethicon unit that surgical mesh could only be safe for patients when used in the pelvis if it was very lightweight and had pores that were at least 1 millimeter in all directions. But Ethicon chose to ignore his advice. They marketed the Prolift vaginal mesh kit made with mesh that was larger and heavier than Dr. Klinge said it needed to be for patients’ safety. (Ethicon alone has 1,800 transvaginal mesh lawsuits pending in New Jersey Superior Court and Dr Klinge’s testimony was delivered during the first trial.)

It isn’t too late to file, but Avaulta mesh lawyers want transvaginal mesh sufferers to file sooner than later. Attorney Henry Garrard said that once the statute of limitations is up in your state there is no going back. “We cannot stress how important it is to retain a lawyer now. You must not wait. You can be left out.”


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