The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated hundreds of lawsuits against three manufacturers of transvaginal mesh into three multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases, each of which will be tried in a West Virginia federal court.
The three MDLs established under the order consolidate cases against transvaginal mesh makers American Medical Systems, Inc., Boston Scientific Corp., and Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon, Inc. Chief Judge Joseph Goodwin, who is presiding over MDL litigation involving Avaulta Pelvic Support Systems, will hear the transvaginal mesh MDLs in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in Charleston. The Judicial Panel on MDL selected Judge Goodwin to hear the litigation because he is already familiar with the Avaulta vaginal mesh repair products under his jurisdiction
The lawsuits involve women who underwent surgical procedures to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI) using mesh or bladder slings. Steadily mounting complaints about the products alleging injuries caused by the mesh protruding out of the vaginal tissue and/or perforating an organ have caught the attention of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which last month ordered all manufacturers of transvaginal surgical mesh to conduct three years of clinical trials to determine their safety risks in relation to more traditional treatment methods.
Ironically, despite the critical function of transvaginal mesh products and their placement next to a number of organs, the FDA allowed the devices to gain approval through an expedited process that does not require pre-market clinical trials.
Consolidation of the cases into an MDL allows several lawsuits that share factual issues regarding the allegedly defective products and their possibly related injuries to be tried together. The process expedites the trial of hundreds of lawsuits by eliminating duplicative discovery and conserving the resources of plaintiffs and defendants as well as the court system.