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Bard Transvaginal Mesh Settlement Follows $2 Million Jury Verdict

C.R. Bard negotiated a confidential transvaginal mesh settlement following a $2 million jury verdict handed down by a federal jury the week before. These cases were the first two bellwether trials for the federal multidistrict litigation involving C.R. Bard’s Avaulta vaginal mesh products. Plaintiffs have brought thousands of lawsuits against the medical device manufacturer, claiming the pelvic mesh devices led to serious complications and the need for revision surgeries in some cases.

Multidistrict litigation was established in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia for the purpose of streamlining early trial proceedings and preventing duplicate discovery. Bellwether trials are early trials selected by the court to gauge how a jury will respond to testimony and evidence in subsequent complaints. In some cases, bellwether trials for a large number of complaints may prompt defendants to negotiate settlements with at least some of the plaintiffs involved in the federal MDL.

Transvaginal mesh settlement follows $2 million verdict

The first vaginal mesh lawsuit involving Bard’s Avaulta  products was filed in federal court in Georgia on March 10,  2013, and transferred to the MDL a short time later. The plaintiffs, Donna and Dan Cisson, alleged the Avaulta Plus Posterior Biosynthetic Support system, implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse, caused Donna Cisson permanent pain and injury.

During the bellwether hearing, the jury decided in favor of Donna Cisson and awarded her $250,000 in compensatory damages and another $1.75 million in punitive damages against C.R. Bard. This jury verdict was handed down August 15, and the second bellwether trial began August 19. The second trial involved plaintiff Wanda Queen, who also alleged she suffered serious injuries after she was implanted with a Bard Avaulta vaginal mesh device.

The jury selections for the second trial had just begun when the court was notified an agreement was reached for a vaginal mesh lawsuit settlement. Specific terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but there were hints that the plaintiffs had a particularly strong case. In addition, the high punitive damages awarded in the first trial may have sent a message to C.R. Bard that possibly led to the negotiation of a settlement in this case.

Vaginal mesh lawsuit settlement does not impact future trials

This recent transvaginal mesh settlement does not impact the outcome of the third bellwether trial, which is scheduled to begin in coming weeks. That trial, Rizzo et al v. C.R. Bard Inc. is to be followed by the fourth bellwether, Jones v. C.R. Bard Inc. Once the bellwether trials are completed, the rest of trials involving C.R. Bard will begin in late 2013, and carrying through to 2014. Currently, there are more than 3,400 lawsuits pending in the federal transvaginal mesh litigation.

In addition to pelvic mesh lawsuits filed against C.R. Bard, the Southern District of West Virginia is also the location for MDL involving vaginal mesh manufacturers American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific and Ethicon, among others. All of the plaintiffs in these complaints allege the vaginal mesh devices resulted in serious complications, including erosion and extrusion of the mesh, persistent abdominal pain and bleeding, and recurrent infections.