The number of transvaginal mesh complaints filed in state and federal courts throughout the country continues to increase, years after the first cases were brought on behalf of women who suffered of painful complications following surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and female stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
According to recent information released by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), product liability lawsuits continue to be filed nationwide at a fast rate, even as the first early trial dates (known as bellwether trials) begin to go before juries and the manufacturers of some vaginal mesh products reach agreements to settle cases.
While there are thousands of cases filed in various state courts throughout the country, the centralized management of the federal vaginal mesh litigation provides a good gauge on the growing number of complaints filed throughout the country.
According to the most recent data released by the U.S. JPML, as of August 15th, at least 25,910 lawsuits were pending in U.S. District Courts throughout the country, including:
- 3,407 Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuits
- 8,967 American Medical System (AMS) mesh lawsuits
- 5,232 Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits
- 7,751 Ethicon mesh lawsuits
- 435 Coloplast bladder sling lawsuits
- 118 Cook Medical biologic mesh lawsuits
This represents a nearly 40% increase over the number of complaints pending three months earlier, as a case list released on May 15, 2013 indicated that there were about 18,600 vaginal mesh complaints pending in the federal court system.
In addition to the information about the federal litigation, case counts have also been released for all lawsuits pending in New Jersey state courts, where centralized proceedings have been established for all complaints filed over Bard and Ethicon mesh. According to updated cases lists released this month, there are at least another 5,319 lawsuits pending there (886 Bard complaints and 4,433 Ethicon Gynecare mesh complaints).
Hundreds of thousands of women have received transvaginal mesh and bladder sling products, and some estimates suggest that the manufacturers may ultimately face more than 50,000 lawsuits.
Vaginal Mesh Trials and Settlements
Given the size, complexity and scope of the litigation, the amount of money the manufacturers may ultimately have to pay to settle vaginal mesh lawsuits could (and should) be staggering.
Even as new complaints continue to be reviewed and filed by vaginal mesh law firms like Saiontz & Kirk, P.A., the first trials are already underway and some manufacturers have begun considering vaginal mesh settlements rather than facing potentially multi-million dollar damage awards.
The first vaginal mesh trial went before a California state court jury last summer, ending with a $5.5 million verdict. A second case went before a New Jersey state court jury in March 2013, ending with an $11.1 million verdict, including punitive damages designed to punish the manufacturer for their actions surrounding the manufacture and sale of the products.
In the federal court system, a series of early trial dates, referred to as “bellwether” cases, are scheduled against each manufacturer.
- Bard Avaulta Mesh Complaints: A series of four cases were scheduled for early trial dates involving Bard Avaulta mesh, with the first case resulting in a $2 million jury verdict in July. A second case settled on the first day of trial last month, and the third case is currently scheduled to begin next month. However, it was reported by Bloomberg News this week that another Bard Avaulta settlement was reached in a New Jersey state court case, which was set for trial to begin next week.
- AMS Mesh Complaints: In the federal court system, bellwether trials are scheduled to begin on December 3, 2013 and May 6, 2014 involving AMS vaginal mesh lawsuits. However, the manufacturer of these products has also reportedly started reaching agreements to settle some lawsuits, following a report by Endo Health Solutions in June 2013 that the parent company of AMS had agreed to pay $54.5 million to resolve an unspecified number of complaints.
- Boston Scientific Mesh Complaints: Earlier this month, a group of cases were selected to for the first bellwether trials in the Boston Scientific litigation. Trial dates are currently scheduled to begin on February 11, 2014, June 17, 2014 and September 9, 2014.
- Ethicon Gynecare Mesh Complaints: In the federal court system, the first Ethicon Mesh lawsuits will not go to trial until August 19, 2014. However, it is is likely that additional state court cases will reach a jury in New Jersey state court, which is where the U.S. headquarters are based of the manufacturer, which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
As we wrote earlier this year, these early trials and settlements will set the tone for this litigation, which is far from over. As a result of the manufacturers’ decisions to place their desire for profits before consumer safety, billions of dollars in settlement benefits will likely be available for women who experienced painful complications from vaginal mesh surgery, including:
- Erosion, Extrusion or Protrusion of the Mesh Through the Vagina
- Shrinkage, Contraction or Hardening of the Mesh
- Pelvic Pain
- Sexual Pain or Discomfort
- Other Problems Resulting in Removal of the Surgical Mesh
The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. continue to provide free consultations and claim evaluations for women nationwide to help determine whether they may be entitled to financial compensation. All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that there are never any out-of-pocket expenses to hire an attorney and we receive no attorney fees unless a recovery is paid.
To review a potential complaint for yourself, a friend or family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.