Much was accomplished during the status conference was held on February 7 for the four vaginal mesh multidistrict litigations (MDLs) that are currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The four MDLs that currently are pending in the Southern District of West Virginia involve claims filed against four different manufacturers of different but similar transvaginal mesh devices. The manufacturers include C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific and Ethicon, which just lost a lawsuit filed by Linda Gross over its Prolift vaginal mesh device kit. In that case, the plaintiff was awarded a total of $11.1 million in damages.
During the status conference in the West Virginia MDLs, the judge overseeing the proceedings said that he will “limit the number of trial days for the bellwether cases assigned to him.” What this means is that at the end of the pretrial process, the litigants will choose a small group of plaintiffs that represent the rest of the plaintiffs to have their cases tried in “bellwether trials.” The next status conference is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on March 21.
Vaginal mesh devices are used to treat women with pelvic organ relapse and stress urinary incontinence, which are caused by childbirth or menopause. The devices have been linked to serious complications which include erosion, vaginal scarring, infections and painful intercourse. These complications generally require surgical removal of the vaginal mesh device. The complications linked to the devices have caused numerous patients to file lawsuits against the manufacturers of these systems for failure to properly warn the public and healthcare providers of the dangers linked to them before putting them on the market.