First Bard Avaulta Mesh Implant Bellwether Trial Scheduled

Whitney Taylor | May 4th, 2012

The first bellwether trial has been selected and scheduled in the MDL involving Bard Avaulta mesh implant complications. This vaginal mesh lawsuit trial will begin on February 5, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, where the multidistrict litigation has been assigned.

Bard Avaulta mesh implant lawsuits moving forward in MDL

A consolidation of cases involving the Bard Avaulta mesh implant was assigned to the West Virginia court in 2010, to be overseen by Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. The MDL currently has more than 250 lawsuits involving devices manufactured by this company. In addition, a second MDL has been established in the same court, which might include any vaginal mesh lawsuit filed against Boston Scientific, American Medical Systems, and Ethicon/Gynecare, a subdivision of Johnson & Johnson.

In January, Judge Goodwin ordered those involved in the vaginal mesh lawsuit consolidation to create a list of potential bellwether cases. Each plaintiff and defense lawyer was asked to identify eight cases involving a Bard Avaulta mesh implant and return the list by March 2. With an initial bellwether trial scheduled for early next year, the next step will be to establish a discovery schedule so that pre-trial proceedings may commence.

MDL preceded FDA mesh warning in 2011

Although the MDL involving the Bard Avaulta mesh implant was assigned in 2010, there was no FDA mesh warning until the following year. While the FDA did acknowledge potential problems with the mesh devices as early as 2008, the agency labeled those risks as “rare” at the time.

When the agency received more than 3.500 complaints about the devices between 2008 and 2010, it issued a second FDA mesh warning in 2011, stating the Bard Avaulta mesh implant and other devices were associated with a high number of complications. The FDA also stated that they could not find any benefit of using the mesh devices over other treatments for pelvic urinary prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

The newly scheduled vaginal mesh lawsuit bellwether trial will set the tone for the rest of the litigation involving mesh devices. Bellwether trials are typically chosen for representative statements of fact, and often reveal evidence and trends that can be used in subsequent lawsuits. The first bellwether trial is sure to list some of the potential risks associated with the devices, including pain, chronic infection and mesh erosion and extrusion. It may also examine when the FDA mesh warning was issued in comparison to when problems with the device were reported.

In addition to the progress in the MDL involving the Bard Avaulta mesh implant cases, Judge Goodwin has also been assigned the consolidation involving the other three vaginal mesh manufacturers.