First Bard Avaulta Mesh Lawsuit Begins
After last month’s mistrial, the first federal Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuit went before a jury this week. The product liability lawsuit alleges C.R. Bard’s controversial transvaginal mesh caused the plaintiff to suffer medical complications. The case is one of more than 24,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits currently pending in various multidistrict litigations established in West Virginia district court.
The first hearing ended in a mistrial on July 10 after a pretrial ruling prohibiting any mention of the withdrawal of the Avaulta mesh was flouted during the testimony of a gynecological expert. U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin had established the rule because Bard’s withdrawal of the product happened long after the plaintiff’s injury, and should have had no bearing on the case.
Judge Goodwin is currently presiding over six federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings involving different manufacturers of vaginal mesh products. The latest Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuit is one of around 3,400 pending against the manufacturer. There are 7,200 transvaginal mesh lawsuits filed against American Medical Systems, 4,600 claims involving products made by Boston Scientific, and 7,100 concerning Ethicon pelvic mesh implants.
All the complaints make similar allegations that women experienced complications and injuries after receiving transvaginal mesh implants to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Plaintiffs claim that the manufacturers marketed a dangerous and defective produce, prone to causing erosion of the abdominal wall and infections.
FDA warning about transvaginal mesh complications
The number of people filing a Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuit and other transvaginal mesh lawsuits has risen swiftly in recent years.
The FDA received more than 1,500 reports of mesh injury and complications between 2008 and 2010. Another 2,875 complaints had been submitted by mid-2011, and three deaths allegedly resulting from surgical mesh complications were reported between 2005 and 2010.
The FDA issued a warning in July 2011 indicating that thousands have women have suffered erosion and other side effects. The warning also suggested that vaginal mesh products may not provide any additional benefits compared to other pelvic organ prolapse treatments such as surgery. The FDA also stated that 10% of patients had suffered vaginal mesh complications, prompting health groups to recommend a recall of the devices.
In early 2012, the FDA sent a letter to several of the manufacturers now facing legal action. The letter demanded the companies conduct additional studies and trials to evaluate the safety of mesh products and establish whether they pose health risks to women.
Upcoming tranvaginal mesh lawsuits
The rescheduled Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuit which began this week is the first in a series of four trials related to the mesh, set to run consecutively. A further series of ‘bellwether’ trials involving the AMS, Boston Scientific and Ethicon products are earmarked for a December start. These hearings are designed to gauge the likely reaction of juries, and to serve the convenience of witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants.
There are also a number of state courts waiting to hold trials. So far, two cases have been heard before a jury, both resulting in multi-million dollar awards. In July 2012, a woman was awarded $5.5 million in damages in a Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuit. Another was awarded $11.1 million in damages from J&J and its Ethicon unit.