Sources close to the ongoing transvaginal mesh lawsuits proceeding against C.R. Bard, Endo Health Solutions, Inc., Boston Scientific Corp., Coloplast A/S, and Cook Medical, Inc. claim that the companies are discussing the possibility of settlements with plaintiffs. These settlements would potentially affect thousands of lawsuits over injuries sustained as a result of allegedly defective and dangerous transvaginal mesh products.
Transvaginal mesh implants are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a condition that occurs when the muscles that support the pelvic organs become stretched, usually because of childbirth. Other than surgery, there are few medical treatments available to women who suffer from severe POP. One type of surgery that promises to fix these issues involves the implantation of transvaginal mesh products designed and manufactured by C.R. Bard and other medical device companies. Unfortunately, thousands of women who received these implants discovered that the devices carried risks of complications that they were never adequately warned about. These complications include significant pain arising from protrusion of the device into nearby organs, and the need for revision surgeries to remove part or all of the mesh material.
Speculation about a Multibillion Dollar Settlement
It has been reported that the lawyers for the plaintiffs have asked U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin to establish a settlement committee to explore the possibility of a resolution. During a September 18, 2013 hearing, Judge Goodwin referenced the unofficial settlement talks. Although no specific information has been released, some have speculated about the possibility of a multibillion-dollar settlement, according to Bloomberg. Carl Tobias, a product liability law professor at the University of Richmond, postulates that a multibillion dollar settlement would be well within the realm of possibilities, given the severity of the claims and the sheer number of lawsuits. Currently, there are over 30,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits consolidated in Judge Goodwin’s court.
Should a settlement be reached, the plaintiffs would be spared the need for testifying as to their injuries. They would also be able to use the compensation to pay for their past and future medical expenses, rehabilitative costs, and any other ongoing care needs that resulted from their injuries. The compensatory damages are also expected to cover lost wages as a result of medical complications.
Talks come on the Heels of Previous Jury Awards
Prior to the settlement talks, C.R. Bard was ordered to pay substantial sums to plaintiffs. In 2012, a jury in a California state court determined that Bard was liable for a plaintiff’s injuries and was ordered to pay $5.5 million. And at the conclusion of the first bellwether trial of the consolidated proceedings, Bard was ordered to pay $2 million to a plaintiff from Georgia. It is thought that given these substantial jury awards, manufacturers of transvaginal mesh implants may be more willing to engage in settlement negotiations.
Other Manufacturers Face Litigation
However, some medical device companies have declined to engage in the negotiations. Johnson & Johnson has so far refused participation. This company faces mounting lawsuits filed with regard to its withdrawn Gynecare Prolift vaginal mesh implant. The company has already been ordered to pay an $11.1 million jury award to one plaintiff following a trial in New Jersey.
Jacky Gale writes for a variety of legal and medical websites including the Vaginal Mesh Lawsuit Center. Her primary areas of interest include women’s health issues, cancer research and patient safety.