Surgical mesh was first approved by the FDA in the 1950s to repair hernias. In the 1990s, the product was expanded to treat pelvic organ prolapsed and stress urinary incontinence conditions, particularly for women post childbirth. However, thousands of women have suffered injuries from transvaginal mesh. Many had to undergo additional surgical procedures such as blood transfusions and draining to correct the problems.
As of today, roughly 40,000 lawsuits have been filed against various manufacturers of the defective transvaginal mesh device. And, according to the most recent reports, 3,000 additional lawsuits are filed every single month. Defendant manufacturers include American Medical Systems, Ethicon, C.R. Bard, Boston Scientific, and Cook Medical Systems, among others.
However, due to the number of lawsuits, many of these cases have been consolidated into what's known as multidistrict litigation. MDL, as it's also referred to, occurs when there are so many cases that involve similar issues, or common questions of fact, that they are often combined and tried under one judge. This reduces the stress and time of trying a case one by one.
Presently, there are six different MDL consolidations regarding the transvaginal mesh device-many are pending in West Virginia federal court.
Current status of transvaginal mesh lawsuits
Various manufacturers have agreed to settle product defect claims and compensate injured victims and their families.
American Medical Systems, for instance, not too long ago agreed to settle a cluster of cases for a reported $54.5 million. According to recent information, AMS will likely soon agree to a global settlement of roughly 6,000 cases currently awaiting trial. Last September, other manufacturers including C.R. Bard, Boston Scientific, Endo, and Cook Medical Systems, among others, were collaborating to possibly settle thousands of other similar cases awaiting trial.
However, transvaginal mesh multidistrict litigation is still pending for thousands of victims. MDL-2326 against Boston Scientific, MDL-2324 against American Medical Systems, and MDL-2327 against Ethicon (a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary) are all pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. All trials are expected to take place sometime this year.
As the outcome of these cases continue to unfold, the decision to continue with litigation or settle is likely to become more apparent.
The advice of a lawyer
Individuals who have suffered injury from a transvaginal mesh implant are encouraged to speak with an attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable with this area of law can offer advice and legal options as it pertains to individual circumstances.