Judge Schedules Second Set of Bellwether Trials in Vaginal Mesh MDL

Shay Morrigan | September 17th, 2012

In October 2010, all federal transvaginal mesh side effects lawsuits brought against manufacturer C. R. Bard were brought together in one court, establishing the first vaginal mesh MDL. These cases were later transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, where they joined three other MDLs established for cases against American Medical Systems (AMS), Boston Scientific, and Ethicon/Gynecare. Cases with claims against Coloplast mesh were consolidated in August 2012.

Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, who is overseeing proceedings for all five MDLs, signed an order on May 1, 2012, that scheduled the first bellwether trial for February 5, 2013. Now, in a more recent order signed August 23, 2012, the judge has scheduled a second group of bellwether cases to go to trial on June 24, 2013.

Transvaginal mesh lawsuits involving Bard Avaulta mesh

Plaintiffs who hire a vaginal mesh lawyer to represent them in cases involving C. R. Bard’s Avaulta vaginal mesh typically complain of side effects and complications like mesh erosion, pain, infections, bleeding, and urinary problems.

Avaulta mesh is a sling-shaped surgical mesh used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Both of these conditions occur when a woman’s pelvic muscles become too weakened or stretched due to multiple childbirths or surgery, allowing organs like the bladder, uterus, and/or bowel to fall or drop from their normal places into the vaginal wall.

Mesh products like the Avaulta Plus, Avaulta Solo, or Avaulta Biosynthetic were intended to provide additional support to pelvic organs when implanted during surgery to treat POP or SUI. Post-marketing reports, however, indicated that women were suffering from serious side effects like infection, organ perforation, and scarring. In 2011, the FDA issued a warning advising physicians and patients that transvaginal mesh complications like these were not rare. Any patient severely injured is eligible to file a mesh patch lawsuit.

Bellwether trials valuable to a vaginal mesh lawyer

Although all federal transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been brought together in West Virginia, they all remain separate and distinct, and each case will be decided on an individual basis. Bellwether trials, however, such as those recently scheduled by Judge Goodwin, can give a vaginal mesh lawyer clues as to how juries may respond to the claims.

Though each case varies depending on the individual product used, the circumstances of the plaintiff’s condition, and the follow-up care, a vaginal mesh lawyer is likely to gain important information from the first few bellwether trials as to how juries may feel about the evidence presented.

One mesh patch lawsuit already completed

The first cases in the vaginal mesh MDL will not go to trial until 2013, but a California state court has already completed a mesh patch lawsuit with claims against C. R. Bard. The plaintiff, Christine Scott, suffered a perforated colon due to the mesh, and required at least eight surgeries. Represented by her vaginal mesh lawyer, she was awarded $5.5 million for her injuries.