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A panel of federal judges will hear oral arguments next week about whether to consolidate a growing number of lawsuits over the Bard Avaulta Pelvic Support System, which have been filed by individuals who suffered severe permanent injury and disfiguration due to alleged design defects with the vaginal surgical mesh.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is scheduled to meet on September 30 in Nashville, Tennessee, at which time they will consider whether 36 Bard Avaulta lawsuits pending in four different federal district courts should be centralized for pretrial proceedings before one judge as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.
A growing number of lawsuits over Bard Avaulta vaginal mesh have been filed in courts throughout the United States involving similar allegations that C.R. Bard, the manufacturer, was negligent in the product’s design and in failing to warn patients of possible complications with Bard Avaulta pelvic organ prolapse mesh.
In July, a petition was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate the federal Bard Avaulta litigation in one court for pretrial proceedings. The petition seeks to have the cases consolidated in either the Southern District of West Virginia or the Northern District of Georgia.
In October 2008, the FDA issued a warning about problems with surgical mesh like the Bard Avaulta. The vaginal mesh products, which are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI), have been associated with hundreds of reports of severe infection, pain, urinary problems and bowel, bladder or blood-vessel perforations. Many women have also reported recurrences of the prolapse or incontinence, and the need for additional surgeries to remove mesh that had eroded into the vagina.
A pelvic organ prolapse occurs when organs such as the bladder, uterus, bowel or rectum drop and push against the wall of the vagina. This happens when the muscles holding the pelvic organ in place become weak or stretched, often due to childbirth or surgery. The surgical mesh is used to support the muscle.
If an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, is formed, all cases filed in federal district courts throughout the United States will be transferred to one judge. In addition, as Bard Avaulta vaginal mesh lawyers continue to review and file additional federal cases in the future, those claims will also be transferred into the MDL.