Contact a LawyerSubmit information about a potential case to be reviewed by an attorney.
By: Irvin Jackson | Published: March 6th, 2014
Coloplast Corp has reportedly reached an agreement to settle vaginal mesh and bladder sling lawsuits brought by women who allege they suffered severe and debilitating complications after receiving the pelvic repair products.
According to a report by Bloomberg News this week, the Coloplast mesh settlement calls for the manufacturer to pay about $16 million to resolve an estimated 400 cases.
There are currently at least 1,155 Coloplast mesh lawsuits pending in the federal court system, which have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation.
Judge Goodwin currently presides over more than 50,000 product liability lawsuits brought against different manufacturers of vaginal mesh and bladder sling products in the federal court system, including at least 13,292 AMS mesh lawsuits, 12,992 Ethicon Gynecare mesh lawsuits, 7,617 Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits, 6,172 Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuits, 152 Cook Medical mesh lawsuits and 21 Neomedic mesh lawsuits.
All of the complaints raise similar allegations that design problems associated with the pelvic repair products caused women to suffer painful and debilitating injuries when the mesh eroded through the vagina, caused infections and other complications. The vaginal mesh and bladder slings have been used in recent years for transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and female stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
The Coloplast settlement agreement was reportedly reached in January, sources told Bloomberg, and talks continue with a number of other manufacturers in an attempt to settle vaginal mesh lawsuits without the need for thousands of lengthy and expensive trials.
Vaginal Mesh Trials
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings in the vaginal mesh litigation, Judge Goodwin has scheduled a series of early trial dates involving cases filed against C.R. Bard, Ethicon, Boston Scientific and AMS.
Known as “bellwether” trials, these early test cases are designed to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout a number of similar cases. While the outcomes of these bellwether cases are not binding on other claims, they may lead to more vaginal mesh settlements.
At least five pelvic mesh cases have already gone before juries, with two cases going before state court juries and three cases proceeding to trial in federal court. In July 2012, a California state court jury awarded $5.5 million in damages against C.R. Bard and a New Jersey state court jury awarded $11.1 million in damages against Ethicon in March 2013.
In July 2013, a federal jury awarded $2 million in damages against Bard, including punitive damages designed to punish the manufacturer for their actions surrounding the design and sale of Avaulta pelvic mesh products. A second Bard case settled during the first day of trial for an undisclosed sum.
Last month, Judge Goodwin entered a defense verdict in an Ethicon bellwether trial, granting the manufacturer’s motion for judgment as a matter of law following the plaintiff’s case after the Court found that insufficient evidence had been presented for the jury to find that a defect in the mesh was the cause of that plaintiff’s injury.
Additional vaginal mesh trials are scheduled throughout the rest of this year. If agreements are not reached to resolve a large portion of the litigation following the bellwether trials, Judge Goodwin may begin remanding individual cases back to the U.S. District Courts where they were originally filed for trial dates across the country.