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First Bellwether Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits Scheduled for June 2013

Transvaginal Mesh LawyerBard Avaulta bellwether trials are scheduled to begin in June of this year, the judge overseeing the federal vaginal mesh MDL (multidistrict litigation) has decided. Judge Joseph R. Goodwin is presiding over thousands of vaginal mesh lawsuits, including those involving Avaulta devices manufactured by C.R. Bard. Judge Goodwin has set the first trial date for this June, and has determined that each of the four Bard Avaulta bellwether trials will be heard separately, rather than together as part of a consolidated trial.

Benefits of multidistrict litigation

The bellwether trials will take place in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Virginia, where the multidistrict litigation has been assigned. Multidistrict litigation, or MDL, is a centralization of lawsuits featuring similar complaints. The purpose of the MDL is to streamline pre-trial proceedings for a more efficient process that minimizes conflicting rulings or duplicate evidence. An MDL may also increase the possibility of settlements with the manufacturer, depending on how the initial lawsuits are decided.

Four trials will be heard separately by same court

Last month, plaintiffs and their transvaginal mesh lawyer filed a motion requesting that three of the four Bard Avaulta bellwether trials be consolidated into trial before the same jury. Plaintiffs also suggested that the three trials could coordinate evidence to be heard by three separate juries during a single trial. However, Judge Goodwin denied the request, and has set the order in which the four separate trials will be heard.

The first trial is scheduled for June 11, 2013. All four of the plaintiffs in these complaints claim vaginal mesh complications that resulted from allegedly defective devices manufactured by C.R. Bard.

Complications associated with vaginal mesh

The Bard Avaulta vaginal mesh is used to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women. The device is used to hold pelvic organs in place that can shift during due to weakened pelvic muscles. Thousands of women have received vaginal mesh devices in recent years, but as many as 15 percent of those patients may experience serious complications with the devices, including mesh protrusion, erosion and persistent pain. Some women have required multiple surgeries to correct the problems and in some cases, full resolution of the complications is never achieved.

Women began filing vaginal mesh lawsuits to pursue compensation for their injuries. In 2010, the Bard Avaulta MDL was established in West Virginia, due to the rising number of complaints filed against C.R. Bard. The bellwether cases selected from this MDL are a sampling of lawsuits that will provide insight to both plaintiffs and the defense on how evidence and testimony will be received by juries in the future. This process may expedite potential settlements or provide attorneys of plaintiffs the information they need to successfully represent their clients in the future.

As the first Bard Avaulta bellwether trial is slated to begin in just a few short weeks, all eyes will be on the West Virginia district court for a hint at how these vaginal mesh lawsuits might be handled in the future.