After a hard fought, protracted and bitter fight that has consumed the last 5 years, the Bard Avaulta transvaginal mesh litigation is finally heading for a global settlement. U.S. District Judge, John Goodwin, who presiding over all federal vaginal mesh lawsuits has appointed a Special Master to forge settlement talks between C.R. Bard and women who allege the mesh and bladder sling company’s products left them with painful and serious injuries.
75,000 Women Cannot Be Wrong
There are currently more than 75,000 product liability, and personal injury lawsuits filed in the federal court system involving transvaginal mesh or bladder sling products made by Bard, American Medical Systems (AMS), Ethicon, Boston Scientific, Coloplast Corp., Cook Medical and Neomedic.
Seven different MDLs (multidistrict litigations) have been organized against the various manufacturers, and are all centralized before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia for discovery and pretrial proceedings.
The Bard Avaulta MDL was the first to be centralized in the Southern District of West Virginia in October 2010. Several “bellwether” trials have resulted in multi-million dollar damage awards for plaintiffs. But their has been slow progress to resolve large numbers of vaginal mesh claims by most of the manufacturers.
Only AMS has settled the majority of claims involving their products, agreeing to pay about $1.6 billion to resolve more than 20,000 claims.
Special Master Appointed to Push Bard Settlements
In a February 12 , court order, Judge Goodwin appointed Ellen Reisman to serve as a Special Master in the Bard litigation, to work with the manufacturer and plaintiffs’ lawyers to help jump start serious settlement talks.
Reisman served as the national settlement counsel for AMS, and according to Judge Goodwin, Reisman is the most qualified person to promote settlement between Bard and injured women.
Trans Vaginal Mesh Claims Continues to Grow
According to the latest data released by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on February 17, there are over 10,348 Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuits, 23,523 Ethicon vaginal mesh lawsuits, 19,159 American Medical Systems (AMS) mesh lawsuits, 15,278 Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits, 1,830 Coloplast vaginal mesh lawsuits, 289 Cook Medical vaginal mesh lawsuits and 83 Neomedic vaginal mesh lawsuits.
According to the complaints, injured women suffered pain and severe complications from vaginal mesh implanted for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence.
The mesh and bladder slings caused infections, erosion of the mesh through the vagina and other severe injuries.
What is TransVaginal Mesh?
Vaginal mesh, or pelvic mesh, is a plastic surgical device that is implanted into the vaginal area to prevent pelvic organ prolapse (POP), which can occur in women after childbirth or abdominal surgery.
Pelvic organ prolapse causes the womb or uterus to slide into the vagina, and can lead to the bladder and bowels shifting onto the vagina, causing pain, discomfort, and urinary incontinence.
FDA Warning No Benefit
According to a FDA warning in July 2011, there is no evidence that vaginal mesh bladder sling surgery provides any greater clinical benefit than non-mesh surgeries.
The FDA stated that the agency has received thousands of reports of complications after the bladder sling mesh has been implanted, and also warn of an increased risk of organs being punctured during the surgery to implant the devices.