The last of the Bard bellwether transvaginal mesh trials began on
December 3 in West Virginia federal court. The
Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuit was originally scheduled to be tried in November, but the judge on the
case issued a notice postponing it for a month. The Avaulta line of vaginal
mesh products had been used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and female
stress urinary incontinence before it was
taken off the market by Bard in July 2012
rather than comply with FDA-mandated testing.
Why women file a Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuit
There are more than 4,800 transvaginal mesh lawsuits in the federal court
system against New Jersey-based-C.R. Bard over the Avaulta line of mesh,
which many women claim can erode, leading to
organ damage and painful sexual intercourse. The complaints against Bard involve similar allegations that the vaginal
mesh was defectively designed and sold without adequate warnings about
the risks associated with it. Bard officials pulled the Avaulta mesh off
the market in 2012 after the
ordered manufacturers of transvaginal mesh to study rates of organ damage,
infection, and other complications associated with pelvic mesh devices.
The lawsuits are pending before U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in
the Southern District of West Virginia as part of a litigation. They were
consolidated into multidistrict litigation with the goal of streamlining
the pretrial process by conserving resources and judicial time.
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings, four cases were selected
for early trial dates. These cases are known as “bellwethers,”
because they are designed to help the parties in the lawsuit gauge how
juries are likely to respond to evidence that may be repeated throughout
Results of Bard transvaginal mesh trials
The first bellwether trial began in July 2013. The plaintiff, a nurse from Georgia,
won a jury award of $250,000 in compensatory
$1.75 million in punitive damages, which are designed to punish the defendant for its actions in the manufacture
and sale of the transvaginal mesh. The nurse had alleged that the mesh
damaged her organs and caused other ailments. In the
second bellwether hearing the parties reached a settlement agreement during the first day of trial.
Bard agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to a North Carolina woman who
said she experienced pain and suffering, permanent injury, and physical
deformity because of the transvaginal mesh. The third bellwether case
was cancelled after the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the case.
Pelvic mesh lawsuits coordinated as Multi-District Litigation
Judge Goodwin is also presiding over five other multidistrict litigations
involving transvaginal mesh made by other companies, including American
Medical System, Ethicon, Boston Scientific, Coloplast, and Cook Medical.
These companies face a combined total of over 30,000 lawsuits in the federal
courts over injuries allegedly caused by the transvaginal mesh.
The legal proceedings for five of the multidistrict litigations are being
handled in the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. There is also a multidistrict litigation for Mentor Corp., another manufacturer
of vaginal mesh, which has been established in the U.S. District Court
for the Middle District of Georgia.
For further information on mesh cases and other
mass torts, call Hutton & Hutton Law firm by using the contact link on the top
of this page.
Story by Katherine Thomas on DECEMBER 4, 2013