Vaginal Mesh Settlements Encouraged by Judge in Joint MDL Meeting

The U.S. District Judge presiding over more than 70,000 federal vaginal mesh lawsuits is meeting with parties involved in the cases this week, pushing further efforts to work towards a settlement that would avoid flooding the U.S. court system with decades of lengthy and expensive trials. 

Throughout the federal court system, all product liability lawsuits filed by women who allege they experienced painful and debilitating side effects from vaginal mesh or bladder sling products are centralized before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

Judge Goodwin is overseeing coordinated proceedings for cases, which involve at least seven different manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit, Boston Scientific, American Medical Systems (AMS), C.R. Bard, Coloplast Corp., Cook Medical, Neomedic and others.

The vaginal mesh MDLs were established for cases against each manufacturer to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts. However, as hundreds of cases become “trial ready”, and manufacturers continue to make little progress in settling claims, Judge Goodwin faces the prospect of remanding large numbers of lawsuits back to U.S. District courts nationwide for individual trials, which could take decades to complete.

Joint Settlement Conference in Vaginal Mesh Litigation

In December, Judge Goodwin scheduled for a special status conference involving plaintiffs’ attorneys, as well as representatives from all of the manufacturers involved in the litigation, indicating that individuals with full settlement authority must appear during two days of hearings this week.

According to a report by Reuters, Judge Goodwin urged the parties to work harder to reach vaginal mesh settlements on Thursday, stating that the Court intends to kick the litigation “into high gear” if agreements are not reached.

As of January 15, the latest update (PDF) released by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) indicates that Judge Goodwin is currently presiding over 22,721 Ethicon vaginal mesh lawsuits, 19,081 American Medical Systems (AMS) mesh lawsuits, 14,674 Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits, 10,080 Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuits, 1,795 Coloplast vaginal mesh lawsuits, 258 Cook Medical vaginal mesh lawsuits and 71 Neomedic vaginal mesh lawsuits.

Judge Goodwin has previously expressed frustration with the efforts made by many of the manufacturers to settle vaginal mesh cases. Since there are only about 2,000 federal jury trials held throughout the entire U.S. District Court system each year, it would overwhelm legal system if each case has to go before a jury.

AMS and Coloplast Corp. are the only defendants that have resolved a large number of cases, with Endo International announcing last year that agreements have been reached to settle “substantially all” of the lawsuits involving their AMS subsidiary.

Judge Goodwin praised those defendants on Thursday for deciding to settle, suggesting that if Ethicon, Boston Scientific, Bard and other remaining defendants fail to begin settling cases, he will begin sending cases to different courts for trial as quickly as possible.

During a prior hearing late last year, Judge Goodwin suggested that based on several multi-million dollar verdicts returned in bellwether trials held in the MDL, some manufacturers could lose billions in liability if settlements do not emerge.

Several “waves” of cases involving Ethicon, Boston Scientific and Bard are being prepared for early trial dates involving each defendant, with several hundred additional claims expected to be ready for trial to begin this year if vaginal mesh settlements are not reached.

2 Comments

  • AnonymousFebruary 11, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Let me get this straight you could not live getting a settlement for 4 million it's people like you I'm afraid to say that is holding up these settlements my wife has had two revision surgeries and she needs help to but she trudges on.My wife endures a lot of pain on a daily basis she takes an unreal amount of prescription narcotics plus a lot off other medication to get her through the day.To say[Show More]Let me get this straight you could not live getting a settlement for 4 million it's people like you I'm afraid to say that is holding up these settlements my wife has had two revision surgeries and she needs help to but she trudges on.My wife endures a lot of pain on a daily basis she takes an unreal amount of prescription narcotics plus a lot off other medication to get her through the day.To say that it would not be enough money it's not all about money as no amount will make things the way they once where but if offered 4 million I know that that would be a very very reasonable offer to take don't be unrealistic because you might not get what you want. Also my wife might need another surgery I can understand that you are hurt and most likely very psssddd off with your injuries but you have to be realistic it is a lot of other women out there to with the same situation as you have and most likely in some cases wish that they where offered 4 million dollars.

  • dakeysFebruary 7, 2015 at 12:56 am

    I live in Texas my cap is 34 million. I don't mind going to court either . Everything is bigger and better in Texas. Anyway 4 million from Johnson and Johnson is not enough to live on as a disabled women . I will need a maid I can't clean my house anymore im in too much pain .I will need a butler to assist me with daily life after 5 minute the pain starts again. I will need a chauffeur I can't sit[Show More]I live in Texas my cap is 34 million. I don't mind going to court either . Everything is bigger and better in Texas. Anyway 4 million from Johnson and Johnson is not enough to live on as a disabled women . I will need a maid I can't clean my house anymore im in too much pain .I will need a butler to assist me with daily life after 5 minute the pain starts again. I will need a chauffeur I can't sit up to drive the 3 herinas from the erosion due to the vaginal mesh my stomach feel like a butcher knife is cutting me from the inside . I also need a chef to cook my meals . So court it is Vaginal Mesh Corporation and Investors see you will soon !!!!!!

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