A federal bellwether trial against transvaginal mesh maker C.R. Bard that was scheduled to start Dec. 3 has been pushed back to January 10, 2014. C.R. Bard is one of six transvaginal mesh manufacturers facing more than 30,000 personal injury lawsuits combined for multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a Charlestown, W.Va., federal court.
The rescheduled case was filed on behalf of a woman who alleges she was seriously injured by a Bard Avaulta vaginal mesh implant. Her lawsuit is one of four cases against C.R. Bard selected for the first round of bellwether trials, which are intended to consolidate discovery and expedite litigation of the thousands of simiar cases pending against the company. C.R. Bard currently faces more than 5,700 transvaginal mesh lawsuits in the federal MDL.
C.R. Bard is one of six transvaginal mesh makers with MDLs being tried under Judge Joseph Goodwin in the West Virginia U.S. District Court. The Bard bellwether cases were selected to be tried first. So far, only one has gone to trial. In that case, which ended in August, the company was ordered to pay $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages to Donna Cisson, a 55-year-old nurse from Georgia. Ms. Cisson alleged the Bard vaginal implant she received caused her to suffer debilitating injuries. Bard settled the second bellwether case just before its trial date.
Boston Scientific, Coloplast, Cook Medical, and Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit are other mesh makers facing federal MDLs. With the exception of Johnson & Johnson, each of the companies has entered settlement talks in an effort to resolve the outstanding claims and avoid trial.
Transvaginal mesh devices were designed as a less invasive alternative to conventional surgical repairs of pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. However, rather than improve the quality of life, the devices have allegedly caused life-altering injuries for thousands of women.
Plaintiffs argue that the products are defectively designed and can cause a multitude of complications, including mesh erosion, infection, bleeding, organ perforation, and chronic pain. Because the mesh devices are designed to become incorporated with surrounding body tissue, removing them is often an extremely difficult and complicated procedure that requires women to undergo multiple corrective surgeries.