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Vaginal Mesh Complications MDL Progressing Smoothly

The vaginal mesh MDL is progressing smoothly, with recent appointments to enable the the huge litigation to run as efficiently as possible

Some background on the MDL: In February 2012, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all of the federal lawsuits claiming complications from transvaginal mesh into an MDL located in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of West Virginia under Chief District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. However, since there are four separate defendants (competing manufacturers of various vaginal mesh devices), the large MDL comprises four smaller MDLs, one for each defendant.

The four defendants are American Medical Systems (AMS), Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard and Ethicon/Gynecare, all of whom manufactured or distributed allegedly defective devices and were served with lawsuits by women claiming complications.

Co-lead counsel appointed

In the ongoing effort to efficiently coordinate proceedings in the MDL, three attorneys were appointed Coordinating Co-Lead Counsel for the entire litigation, and two lawyers were appointed Co-Lead Counsel for each of the four individual MDLs that comprise the larger litigation. The Coordinating Co-Lead Counsel are responsible for coordinating individual tasks within the MDL. The Co-Lead Counsel teams will speak on behalf of all plaintiffs during pretrial proceedings as well as responding to court inquiries, examining witnesses, and exploring settlement options.

In addition, Judge Goodwin has appointed a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee that includes more than 60 attorneys who will MDL lines to divide pretrial duties and coordinate discovery of evidence that is common to all cases.

FDA warns of vaginal mesh side effects

In 2011, the FDA issued a warning about serious side effects including erosion, protrusion, infections, pain, and bleeding, and warned that these complications are “not rare”.

In addition, a recent Congressional report found that the devices were fast-tracked through the FDA’s 510(k) process, which does not require clinical trials to prove a product is safe if the product is substantially similar to one already on the market, even though the devices precessors were recalled. This finding, along with the new FDA warning, is likely to strengthen any transvaginal mesh lawsuits, whether in or out of the MDL.

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