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The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has decided that all federal lawsuits over Bard Avaulta surgical mesh should be consolidated for pretrial litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The Panel issued an order on October 12, which will result in at least 36 different Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuit claims currently pending in federal courts across the country being transferred to U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston. In addition, as Bard Avaulta lawyers continue to file new federal cases for complications involving the surgical mesh used during pelvic organ prolapse procedures, they will also be transferred to Judge Goodwin’s court.
All of the lawsuits include similar complaints that C.R. Bard’s Avaulta Anterior and Posterior BioSynthetic Support System was negligently designed and that the company failed to warn patients of possible complications that can result in severe pain and disfigurement.
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 over 1,000 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.
Consolidation of the Bard Avaulta surgical mesh lawsuits before one judge as part of an MDL is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the court, witnesses and parties. While the pretrial management of the cases in an MDL is often managed similar to how a Bard Avaulta class action lawsuit would be handled, each claim will still remain an individual lawsuit. If an agreement to settle Bard Avaulta lawsuits is not reached during pretrial proceedings, the consolidated cases will be remanded back to the jurisdiction where they were originally filed for trial.