For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Judge Identifies Boston Scientific Mesh Bellwether Cases

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia is the site of six separate coordinated litigations for transvaginal pelvic mesh lawsuits pending against manufacturers, including Boston Scientific, American Medical Systems, Ethicon, Cotoplast and Cook Medical. The latest court dockets show that more than 22,000 federal lawsuits have been consolidated as part of the individual multidistrict litigations before Honorable Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.

The product liability claims, though all involving various types of pelvic mesh and bladder slings, all contain common issues of fact and comparable allegations regarding excruciating complications such as mesh erosion, severe infection and internal injuries.

Boston Scientific transvaginal mesh lawsuits selected for bellwether trials

In each of the vaginal mesh MDLs, representative lawsuits called bellwether cases are being selected for early trial dates. These preliminary hearings are intended to help both plaintiffs and the defendants better predict how jurors will respond to expert testimony and evidence that is likely to be repeated in thousands of cases. Judge Goodwin, who is overseeing each of the coordinated pelvic mesh litigations, recently identified four cases that will serve as bellwether trials for the Boston Scientific MDL. Goodwin had rejected earlier lawsuits proposed by both sides on the basis that they weren’t appropriate delegates for the rest of the litigants.  To prevent further “outliers,” Judge Goodwin issued a pretrial order that clarified the parameters for a representative Boston Scientific mesh lawsuit.

The order stipulates that both sides were to each select 8 separate complaints that were filed by plaintiffs who were between the ages of 40 and 60, and who suffered transvaginal mesh complications that required three corrective surgeries or fewer. To further limit the pool of contenders, Judge Goodwin also asked both parties to only consider cases that involved no more than one of the following Boston Scientific mesh products:

  • Obtryx
  • Pinnacle
  • Advantage/Fit
  • Uphold

First bellwether trial slated for February 2014

On August 29, four Boston Scientific cases were chosen as bellwether cases, according to a pretrial order for MDL # 2326.

Goodwin identified the following cases for the first and second bellwether hearings:

  • Carol Lynn Fawcett, et al. v. Boston Scientific Corp. 2:12-cv-07497 Pinnacle
  • Roseanne Sanchez, et al. v. Boston Scientific Corp. 2:12-cv-05762 Pinnacle1
  • Carolyn F. Smothers v. Boston Scientific Corp. 2:12-cv-08016 Obtryx
  • Katherine L. Hall v. Boston Scientific Corp. 2:12-cv-08186 Obtryx

The first two cases are expected to go before a jury on February 11, 2014 and June 17, 2014. If the first of the complaints reaches a vaginal mesh settlement before trial or is dismissed, Goodwin indicated that the court would proceed on to the next case that was chosen. September 9, 2014 will be the date for the third Boston Scientific bellwether trial, but Goodwin has yet to select a final representative case from the list of proposed lawsuits.

Pelvic mesh trials and settlements

Bellwether cases are currently underway for the Bard Avaulta MDL, also managed by Judge Goodwin. The first vaginal mesh trial resulted in a $2 million verdict for the plaintiff, and the second bellwether Bard Avaulta lawsuit was settled on the first day of trial for an undisclosed sum. It is thought that the defendant negotiated a settlement to avoid another costly jury award, as jurors awarded the first plaintiff, Donna Cisson, $1.5 million in punitive damages – a staggering amount intended to punish the defendant.

Initial trials for American Medical Systems transvaginal pelvic mesh lawsuits are scheduled for August 2014, but there has been talk that AMS will attempt to settle some of the cases, as $54.5 million has purportedly been earmarked for this purpose.