C.R. Bard Inc., a manufacturer of transvaginal-mesh implants settled the second of thousands of claims against it for its vaginal mesh product Avaulta. C.J. Bard (Bard) is based in Murray Hill, New Jersey; Transvaginal-mesh products are used to treat pelvic organs prolapse (POP), and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The implants are alleged to have caused organ damage and a variety of complications, such as painful sexual intercourse, infections, bleeding and disfigurement, in women who use them. The claims include that the devices shrink or erode, over time.
Attorneys for the plaintiff, Wanda Queen, (of North Carolina) notified the trial judge in Charleston, West Virginia that a settlement had been reached before the trial began. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, but it comes just a week after a jury, also in West Virginia, found C.R. Bard negligent and thus liable for $2 million. Ms. Queen’s lawyers asserted that Ms. Queen was required to have six surgeries to try to correct her pain. Queen claimed that the device (Avaulta Solo) was supposed to help her with her POP diagnosis. Instead, she was left with pain and discomfort during sex which caused her to have to take a lower demanding executive job at the bank she worked for in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The claims against Bard include the full array of vaginal mesh products made by Bard and their subsidiaries. These products, in addition to Avaulta, include: Align, Uretex, Pelvicol, Pelvitex, PelviLace, and PelviSoft.
The US Federal Drug Administration (US FDA) filed a report, in August, 2011, finding that vaginal mesh products were “high risk.” The report was based on studies on the side-effects of the devices done between 2008 to 2010. As a result of the report, the US FDA ordered the manufacturers (31 total), to examine the consequences from the use of vagina-mesh implants. Bard was one of the defendants ordered to perform a review. As a result of the review, Bard removed Avaulta implants from the market.
Part of the claim against Bard is that it knew it was making faulty products but went ahead with production to make a profit.
Where the Cases Are Being Tried
● West Virginia Federal Court. The injury claims due to defective transvaginal mesh products are being brought against many manufacturers. There are 8,000 claims, according to the Bloomberg report, against Bard for its Avaulta products. Similar pelvic mesh lawsuits (that the products caused vaginal complications) are being brought against Johnson & Johnson, Endo Health Solutions Inc. (and its subsidiary American Medical Systems) and Boston Scientific Corp. These cases have been consolidated in Charleston, West Virginia. The Judge assigned to the case is United States Southern District Court Judge, Joseph Goodwin. The cases are part of West Virginia’s Multi-District Litigation (MDL)
● State Courts. Many cases are proceeding through the state courts also.
Several cases have already been tried.
● California state court – Bard found liable for $5.5 million due to complications for an Avaulta implant. State law topped the amount at $3.6 million.
● West Virginia Federal Court – awarded $250,000 compensatory damages and $1.75 million against Bard in punitive damages (for the $2 million verdict mentioned above) to a nurse from Georgia. This was the first US Federal District Court trial.
● New Jersey- awarded $3.35 million against Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon for “their defective design, manufacture, warnings and instructions.”
Two other federal transviginal mesh cases are scheduled before Judge Goodwin in October, 2013. The initial cases and settlements are a guide to how the remaining cases will be resolved.
Contact Cohen, Placitella and Roth
Our firm is directly involved with trans vaginal mesh implant cases. We currently serve as liaison counsel to the NJ State Court in the Johnson and Johnson Transvaginal Mesh Medical Device Litigation and are on the Steering committee for the Federal cases. The time for bringing claims for injuries due to the insertion of these products is quickly expiring. Please call our firm immediately to schedule an appointment to review your case. Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.