“As of today, we have settled 220 transvaginal mesh cases and about 50 more individuals are getting close to settling,” says Miller at Will Davidson law firm in Toronto.And he is still hearing from women with TVM complications.
Miller has partnered with a US firm that included Canadian cases in its multidistrict litigation (MDL) negotiations. “We were able to settle American Medical Systems and Bard through this MDL," Miller says, “but if cases don’t settle, we still litigate them here in Canada.”
This is how it works: The US law firm contacts a transvaginal mesh manufacturer, say Bard, and tells them his co-counsel (Miller and other attorneys at Will Davidson) has a number of cases, and would Bard be interested in including them in the MDL.
“My clients have benefited from this process because they are being paid in US dollars and, depending upon the conversion rate, they could get about 25 percent more than American individuals,” Miller explains. “And the offers for women who have been seriously injured by transvaginal mesh is good. In terms of settlement amounts, our clients have been very pleased with the results.
“One Canadian law firm reached a proposed settlement of $2.3 million for their 20 Canadian clients,” says Miller, “and the Notice of settlement Approval Hearing is scheduled for the beginning of May.”
All of Miller’s clients with Bard’s transvaginal mesh accepted the settlement. Other transvaginal mesh companies are in different stages of negotiation. “Some companies are closer than others and anything can happen,” says Miller. “For instance, Boston Scientific was planning a few days of negotiations in early May. They have best intentions - they want to settle - but if the numbers aren’t right, reaching a settlement agreement takes longer.”
Last January, CTV News talked with Miller and two Canadian women who suffered severe complications from transvaginal mesh. Catherine Buote had 18 surgeries to remove the mesh and repair internal damage it caused. Trudy Randell, another Canadian woman, had part of her bladder removed after many emergency room trips and surgeries. Some women, however, can’t find a surgeon in Canada to remove the mesh. In 2013, Mary told this reporter that she was on a “TVM bucket list” to get the mesh removed. She filed a Canadian transvaginal mesh lawsuit. Buote, who is permanently disabled due to the mesh, was one of the first Canadian women to receive a settlement.
“It [the settlement] is a recognition there was some problem with the mesh for these women and the problems they complained of, that for so long doctors said were in their minds. [The settlement] confirmed that these were real problems,” Miller told CTV News.
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Miller still gets two or three calls a week from women with transvaginal mesh issues. Even though transvaginal mesh class actions have commenced and settlements reached in Canada, it is not too late to make a claim.