Recently, during a pretrial order to American Medical Systems Inc., a timeline was established for choosing the five vaginal mesh cases that are going to be tried in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The five bellwether cases will be chosen to represent a larger group of similar cases in court as a means of speeding up discovery. After numerous lawsuits were filed against the various manufacturers of similar vaginal mesh implant devices, MDLs had to be established just to help push the cases through the courts faster. In fact, the thousands of vaginal mesh lawsuits have been consolidated into five pending MDLs with numerous manufacturers listed as defendants. Some of those companies being sued over the vaginal mesh devices include CR Bard, Coloplast, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon and Boston Scientific.
All of the women suing over the vaginal mesh devices did so because they were suffering from various complications associated with the devices, which are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. Some of the complications linked to the devices include painful intercourse, vaginal scarring, erosion, infection and bleeding. So far, of the lawsuits that have been filed, two have resulted in awards for the plaintiffs. The first case resulted in an $11.1 million verdict for the plaintiff against Ethicon over its Gynecare Prolift device. The FDA is in agreement with the dangers associated with vaginal mesh devices. In fact, on July 13, 2011 in a safety memo, the FDA issued a warning that stated that “serious complications associated with surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of POP are not rare.”
With the two awards having been handed down, and the FDA admitting to the dangers linked to the devices, it is likely that more awards will be handed down.