Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits in Two Courts Reach 36,883
The vaginal mesh device controversy is on its way to becoming perhaps the biggest product liability litigation in the history of the United States in terms of number of complainants and potential amount of damages. As of September 09, 2013, there are over 36,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits filed by women who have been injured after being implanted with pelvic mesh supposedly to treat their pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia under presiding judge Joseph R. Goodwin, there are 31,553 pending cases consolidated under six multidistrict litigations (MDL). The six companies named defendants in these lawsuits with the respective number of pending cases are the following:
- American Medical Systems - 9,930 cases
- Ethicon, Inc. - 9,759
- Boston Scientific - 6,048
- C.R. Bard - 4,628
- Coloplast - 1,042
- Cook Medical - 146
- TOTAL 31,553
In the New Jersey Atlantic County Superior Court under Judge Carol Higbee, records would show that there are 5,280 pending cases against Ethicon and C.R. Bard. Lawsuits against Ethicon account for the lion’s share at 4,405 cases while 875 lawsuits are against C.R. Bard.
Total number for these two courts is a whopping 36,883 lawsuits. This does not even include other claims filed in various state courts. This number is expected to increase further in the months ahead as more women are coming forward to file their complaints.
To date, there have been three cases resolved before a jury, with all three decided in favor of the plaintiff. Another lawsuit in West Virginia was settled before the case can go into trial. It has also been reported the Endo Health Solutions, the parent company of American Medical Systems has allocated $54.5 million for the settlement of selected vaginal mesh lawsuits.
In July of 2012, the jury in a California state court found C.R. Bard liable for the injuries suffered by Christine Scott and ordered the payment of $5.5 million as compensatory damages to Christine Scott and her husband. A jury in New Jersey also found Ethicon, Inc. guilty and awarded Linda Gross $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.76 million as punitive damages.
C.R. Bard was once again held liable for the injuries sustained by Donna Cisson in a trial held in West Virginia which was actually the first bellwether case heard under this federal court. A total of $2 million was awarded to the plaintiff as compensatory and punitive damages. The second bellwether trial against C.R. Bard which was supposed to start in August did not push through after Bard decided to settle the claim of Wanda Queen out of court.
The number of pending lawsuits against mesh manufacturers has already exceeded that of Vioxx which stood at 27,000 before Merck decided to settle the claims and after setting aside $4.85 billion for payment to claimants. If the amounts awarded in the three previous cases would be any indication, potential damages may run into amounts never before heard in product liability litigation.