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By: AboutLawsuits | Published: January 7th, 2009
At least 32 lawsuits have been filed against Mentor Corp. involving problems with their ObTape vaginal mesh used during bladder suspension surgery, and additional cases are expected to be filed in the coming months now that a federal MDL has been established in Georgia. However, last month Mentor was successful in the first ObTape lawsuit which went to trial in California state court.
The ObTape Transobturator Sling is a vaginal mesh that was sold between 2003 and 2006 by Mentor Corporation of Santa Barbara, California. It is a medical device which is implanted surgically to treat female stress urinary incontinence caused by weakening of muscles in the urethra.
A number of women who received the ObTape sling during a bladder suspension surgery have experienced problems and complications, such as severe pain, vaginal extrusions, erosion and urinary tract infections. Unlike other vaginal mesh, the ObTape bladder sling is made of small-pored, non-woven fibers, which could block vital nutrients and oxygen from reaching the tissue.
Following a hearing of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on November 20, 2008, all federal Mentor ObTape bladder sling lawsuits were consolidated for pretrial proceedings and centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia as part of an MDL. At that time, 22 different lawsuits filed in District Courts throughout the United States were transferred to Georgia.
Recent reports suggest that there are now at least 32 Mentor ObTape lawsuits pending, with 29 of the cases in federal courts and another three in California state court. In addition, a number of ObTape lawyers who are investigating and documenting potential cases on behalf of women who have experienced problems, expect that additional lawsuits will be filed this year.
According to the National Law Journal, the first Mentor ObTape lawsuit went to trial last month in the Superior Court of California for Alameda County, where a jury ruled in favor of the manufacturer on December 15, 2008.
In that case, the plaintiff suffered from infection and erosion of her reproductive organs after the ObTape was surgically implanted in 2004.
The jury ruled in Mentor’s favor after finding that under the specific facts of the case, the plaintiff’s doctors were aware of the risks associated with the bladder sling and therefore, Mentor’s warnings were not found to be inadequate.
Despite the early setback, the California ObTape lawsuit ruling is not likely to have any impact on the likelihood for success in other cases pending throughout the United States and there are no signs that it will slow the Mentor ObTape bladder sling lawsuit filings.