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Another two hundred vaginal mesh lawsuits involving products manufactured by Boston Scientific are now being prepared for early trial dates, with a second wave of cases selected by the parties late last month.
Boston Scientific currently faces more than 10,000 product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system by women who experienced problems from transvaginal mesh products implanted for repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or female stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, who is presiding over six federal multidistrict litigations established for vaginal mesh claims brought against different manufacturers, indicated that the first bellwether trial for products manufactured by Boston Scientific will begin on October 14, 2014, involving the consolidation of eleven cases that will go before the same jury.
According to a pretrial order (PDF) issued by Judge Goodwin, another 200 cases are now also being prepared for early trial dates. Over the remainder of this year, case-specific discovery will move forward in this second round of bellwether cases, with the first lawsuits expected to be trial-ready by January 30, 2015.
After each party selected 50 “Wave 1 Cases” earlier this year, the remaining cases were identified late last month, with each side unilaterally selecting another 50 “Wave 2 Cases”.
Fact discovery in all Wave 1 cases is to be completed by August 4, 2014, with Wave 2 cases completed by October 3, 2014. Depositions of physicians who removed the vaginal mesh in both waves of cases are to be completed by October 3, with all expert witness discovery completed by January 12, 2015.
The parties have been directed to meet and confer over the coming weeks to determine the appropriate venue for these bellwether cases by July 25, 2014. Following conclusion of pretrial proceedings, Judge Goodwin indicates he will begin remanding cases back to the various U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates.
“If a case is to be tried in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (either by agreement of the parties or where venue in the Southern District is determined to be proper by the Court), the case shall be deemed trial-ready on January 30, 2015 or as soon as the Court rules on the parties’ dispositive motions, whichever is later,” wrote Judge Goodwin in the pretrial order issued May 27. “The trial date for cases transferred or remanded to other federal district couts shall be set by the judge to whom the transferred or remanded case is assigned (including the undersigned through intercircuit assignment).”
Vaginal Mesh Litigation and Bellwether Trials
Judge Goodwin currently presides over more than 50,000 cases that filed against various different manufacturers, which are centralized in the Southern District of West Virginia.
In addition to Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits, the latest update provided by the Court indicates that Judge Goodwin is presiding over 17,293 AMS mesh lawsuits, 17,638 Ethicon Gynecare mesh lawsuits, 7,783 Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuits, 1,325 Coloplast mesh lawsuits, 184 Cook Medical mesh lawsuits and about 28 Neomedic Pelvic mesh lawsuits.
In several of the proceedings, a series of bellwether trials have been scheduled to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the litigation. While the outcomes of these early trial dates are not binding on other cases, they are designed to facilitate possible vaginal mesh settlement agreements that may resolve a large portion of the litigation.
The first federal vaginal mesh trial began in July 2013, involving a lawsuit filed against C.R. Bard involving their Avaulta mesh product. That case resulted in a $2 million damage award for Donna Cisson, including $1.5 million in punitive damages designed to punish the manufacturer for their actions surrounding the design and sale of the product.
Following that initial trial, Bard has agreed to settle at least two federal cases shortly before trial was scheduled to begin before Judge Goodwin. A second wave of 200 cases involving Bard Avaulta mesh are also now being prepared for additional trial dates early next year.
Last month, Endo Health Solutions decided to settle AMS mesh lawsuits for an estimated $830 million to avoid a series of bellwether trials set to begin over this summer.