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New Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit Settlement Reached as More Trials Advance

The makers of a vaginal mesh implant have reached a settlement with a woman whose lawsuit was set for a state court trial in Atlantic City later this month. C.R. Bard’s transvaginal mesh lawsuit settlement will reportedly provide compensation of an undisclosed amount to a 56-year-old Colorado music teacher who claimed the Avaulta Plus vaginal mesh device caused injuries including urinary troubles that required three revision surgeries to repair the internal damage, according to Bloomberg News.

Vaginal mesh settlements are in the news lately now that Bard, the New Jersey-based manufacturer, is facing more than 8,000 lawsuits stemming from injuries allegedly caused by the Avaulta products, including painful sexual intercourse, infections and damage to internal organs caused by erosion of the device. Plaintiffs have argued that the device contains a design defect that causes it to erode once implanted in the vagina, and that as a result, the product is unreasonably dangerous and not suited for its intended use of repairing pelvic organ prolapse and female stress urinary incontinence.

Transvaginal mesh lawsuit settlement reached

The number of vaginal mesh lawsuits has grown substantially in both state and federal courts throughout the country following a 2011 FDA statement warning patients and doctors about reports of complications with the devices. In 2012, the FDA took further precautions by ordering manufacturers of pelvic mesh to conduct additional research looking into the reported problems linked to vaginal mesh surgery. Bard responded by pulling its Avaulta devices from the market, according to Bloomberg News.

The first group of trials move forward

The most recent transvaginal mesh lawsuit settlement comes on the heels of the first of four “bellwether trials” aimed at gauging how juries would respond to the evidence in cases against vaginal mesh device makers. In that case, a West Virginia federal jury ordered the company to pay $2 million to a Georgia woman who suffered organ damage caused by vaginal mesh erosion. And last month, Bard reached a last minute transvaginal mesh lawsuit settlement on the first day of the second bellwether trial.

In July 2012, in the first transvaginal mesh case to go to trial, jurors in a California state court ordered Bard to pay the 53 year-old plaintiff $5.5 million, though pursuant to the state’s law, the damages were capped at $3.6 million.

As jurors continue to find in favor of plaintiffs injured by these devices, manufacturers may reach more vaginal mesh settlements in an effort to avoid jury verdicts and punitive damages. Two more federal cases are set for trial in the coming months, where the productivity of any settlement negotiations may affect the potential resolution of the cases on tap next.

Cases centralized in multidistrict litigation

In an effort to consolidate similar cases and avoid conflicting pretrial rulings, many of the federal lawsuits against the makers of vaginal mesh devices have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, with U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston presiding over the separate transvaginal mesh multidistrict litigation – or MDLs – involving roughly 25,000 claims against six manufacturers, including approximately 3,400 Bard Avaulta cases.

Thousands of other cases are pending in state courts around the country, including about 800 Bard Avaulta lawsuits centralized before Judge Carol E. Higbee in Atlantic County, New Jersey.

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