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Vaginal Mesh MDL Schedules Bellwether Trials

Vaginal Mesh Lawsuit Woman 2U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, the judge overseeing the five vaginal mesh MDLs in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, called a status conference on December 6, 2012 to announce that the first three bellwether trials have been scheduled to start in December 2013. These three bellwether trials all have different mesh manufacturers as defendants. The first case to go to trial names American Medical Systems (AMS) as defendant; the second trial will be against Ethicon; and the third will be a Boston Scientific lawsuit.

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Importance of bellwether trials

In a multidistrict litigation, each case is separate and distinct and has its own trial and verdict. But the first trials, also known as “bellwether trials”, are important because they give attorneys on both sides the opportunity to see how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence, and because they can be used as precedents in future trials. The verdicts of bellwether trials also factor into the decision of other plaintiffs and attorneys of whether to continue their case to trial or negotiate a settlement out of court.

Complications of vaginal mesh

The five MDLs in West Virginia involve cases against vaginal mesh manufacturers C.R. Bard, Ethicon, Boston Scientific, Coloplast, and American Medical Systems (AMS). Vaginal mesh devices were designed to provide internal support for women with pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. However, after being implanted with vaginal mesh devices, many women reported serious complications including pain, bleeding, infections, scarring, mesh erosion, protrusion, organ perforation, and painful intercourse.

In 2011, the FDA reported that in the two-year period from 2008 to 2010 it received more than 2,800 reports of women suffering complications and injuries from vaginal mesh devices, including a number of deaths. The FDA warned that such complications are “not rare”, that even multiple surgeries might not be able to fix the problems, and that there was no evidence that vaginal mesh devices were more effective than non-surgical methods of treating pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

Thousands of women have hired a transvaginal mesh lawyer and filed lawsuits alleging injuries from vaginal mesh products. Because of the large numbers of lawsuits, multidistrict litigations were established to consolidate the lawsuits against the various mesh manufacturers.