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Bard Avaulta Mesh Settlement Preempts Latest Bellwether Trial

Bard Avaulta mesh settlementThe last of three bellwether trials involving Bard Avaulta vaginal mesh has been cancelled with the parties agreeing to settle the product liability case just weeks before it was set to begin on May 19th.

In a statement issued by the court on April 29th addressing the cancellation, the amount of the Bard Avaulta mesh settlement was not disclosed. In this particular case, the plaintiff alleged, as in similar mesh lawsuits, that she suffered severe and disfiguring complications from her use of transvaginal mesh to repair pelvic organ prolapse.

The three bellwether cases were scheduled for early trial dates to act as barometers for how juries might respond to attorney arguments, evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the ongoing vaginal mesh multidistrict litigation (MDL) where thousands of cases against seven different manufacturers have been centralized. The outcomes of these bellwether trials are not binding on the other cases. However, they do provide an opportunity to facilitate vaginal mesh settlement negotiations that may help avoid thousands of individual trials throughout the country.

C.R. Bard, the manufacturer of the Bard Avaulta mesh device, has been named as the defendant in 7,000 lawsuits currently filed throughout the federal court system. In addition to the cases against C.R. Bard, more than 50,000 women are pursuing vaginal mesh lawsuits against manufacturers of other products, including American Medical Systems (AMS), Boston Scientific, Coloplast Corp., Cook Medical, Ethicon and Neomedic. The complaints involve similar allegations that each of the manufacturers failed to provide adequate information for women and the medical community about the risk of severe complications caused by transvaginal mesh devices.

Bard Avaulta mesh settlement reached on first day of trial

In the earlier bellwether trials, the results were similar. The first trial, which began in July 2013, ended in a $2 million damage award against Bard for failing to provide adequate warnings to the victims and the medical community about the substantial risks associated with its pelvic mesh device. Punitive damages of $1.5 million were included in the award which served to punish Bard for its negligence in the design and sale of the Bard Avaulta mesh.

The second trial was scheduled to start on August 13, 2013, but the plaintiff and the defendant C.R. Bard were able to reach a transvaginal mesh settlement during the first day of trial proceedings. Terms of that Bard Avaulta mesh settlement were not disclosed.

It has also just been reported that Endo Health Solutions has agreed to pay $830 million to settle AMS vaginal mesh lawsuits brought by an estimated 20,000 women.

Bellwether trials hope to cut transvaginal mesh caseload

The court hopes that the results of the bellwether trials send a signal to the parties to facilitate settlements to help knock down the increasing mesh lawsuit count. In the federal court system, seven different multidistrict litigations (MDLs) have been established for lawsuits against different manufacturers, with all pretrial proceedings centralized before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia. The MDL should reduce duplicative discovery and help avoid conflicting rulings from different judges.

According to the latest case list released by the court on April 15, Judge Goodwin is currently presiding over more than 16,515 AMS mesh lawsuits, 14,679 Ethicon Gynecare mesh lawsuits, 9,776 Boston Scientific mesh lawsuits, 7,096 Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuits, 1,267 Coloplast mesh lawsuits, 173 Cook Medical mesh lawsuits and about 25 Neomedic Pelvic mesh lawsuits.

In the Bard Avaulta litigation, following the initial series of three bellwether trials, Judge Goodwin ordered the parties to prepare a second wave of 200 mesh lawsuits for trial which may be ready to begin on January 30, 2015.

  1. LA Times, Endo Health Solutions settles lawsuits over vaginal mesh implants

  2. Bloomberg Business Week, Bard, Doctor Ordered to Pay $5.5M Over Implant