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What Early Wins in Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits Mean for Women

Posted by Kim Dougherty on Aug 22, 2013 in Legal

Thousands of women have filed lawsuits against various manufacturers of vaginal mesh products used in bladder and pelvic prolapse surgeries. We represent many of these women, and continue to take new cases. These defective products are still in many women and more lawsuits are expected to be filed. Do you know the symptoms of a failing vaginal mesh or sling product?

I’m happy to report the first two “bellwether” trials have been wins for plaintiffs. Last week, a jury awarded $2 million to Georgia nurse Donna Cisson against CR Bard, Inc. Ms. Cisson underwent several surgeries to remove Bard’s Avaulta Plus mesh after she began suffering pain, bleeding and bladder spasms. In February, a jury awarded $11.1 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Ethicon, Inc. to Linda Gross, of South Dakota. She had undergone 18 revision and repair surgeries to fix problems associated with a Gynecare Prolift implant to treat pelvic organ prolapse.

Good News for Other Vaginal Mesh Cases

Here’s the significant good news for other women who have filed suit:

  • The verdicts show that juries take seriously the injuries women have suffered. The complications often leave women permanently incontinent and unable to enjoy intimate relations because of pain during intercourse (called dyspareunia).
  • The verdicts show that juries are not tolerant of corporations putting profits before health, as both resulted in significant punitive damage judgments awarded to punish the companies.
  • The evidence presented in the Gross and Cisson trials exposed lax safety measures and inadequate safety testing by manufacturers. This type of behavior was prevalent across manufacturers and similar evidence will be presented in all the cases.
  • “Bellwether” cases are considered representative cases. As juries decide these cases, it signals to the defendants how the “wind is blowing” in terms of future outcomes. Steady wins by plaintiffs usually spark reasonable settlement offers for many cases down the road.

Cases Being Heard in Many States

Cases filed to date have been consolidated into what are called Multi District Litigations (MDLs). Thousands of cases are pending before the U.S District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia against Boston Scientific Corp, American Medical Systems, Inc., C.R. Bard, Inc., Ethicon, Inc. Coloplast Corp and Cook Medical Inc. Thousands of cases against many of these manufacturers are also being pursued in consolidated state court venues, including suits against Boston Scientific in Massachusetts and suits against C.R. Bard and Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey.

Other Trials Scheduled

Meanwhile, other cases will continue to move through the legal process. Another MDL trial began Aug. 19 and settled right before opening statements. Two other trials are set for next month. Six additional “bellwether” cases, including some against Boston Scientific, are scheduled for trial: two each in February, June and September of 2014.

Sadly, clients will continue to bear financial and quality of life consequences while the legal process grinds along. Our goals ultimately are to hold the companies accountable for the harm they caused, make sure they compensate the injured women for their suffering, and stop them – and other makers of medical devices – from marketing and selling unsafe products to consumers. These are goals we pledge to reach.

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