C.R. Bard, Inc. has settled another tranvaginal mesh lawsuit, this time a bellwether case that was set to go to trial this week in the federal multidistrict litigation currently underway in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia. According to a report from Reuters, the terms of the settlement are confidential, but the agreement was confirmed by the plaintiff’s attorney.
As a bellwether case, the progress of the lawsuit was being watch closely by attorneys representing other vaginal mesh plaintiffs who were allegedly harmed by products included in C.R. Bard’s Avaulta line. In large, complex litigation such as this, certain cases representative of the others in the proceeding are chosen for bellwether, or test, trials. Their outcomes are intended to provide insight into how juries might rule in similar vaginal mesh cases.
Court documents indicate that this is just C.R. Bard’s most recent settlement of a bellwether vaginal mesh lawsuit. In August of 2013, the company resolved what would have been the second such trial in the federal litigation for an undisclosed amount. The settlement came just a week after the company was ordered to pay $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages by the federal jury weighing arguments in the multidistrict litigation’s first bellwether trial.
Last October, Bloomberg News reported that C.R. Bard was close to settling some 500 transvaginal mesh cases that were also pending in the federal proceeding.
In September 2013, the company resolved another bellwether case a week before it was scheduled to go to trial in a multicounty litigation underway in New Jersey Superior Court. In July 2012, a California Superior Court jury hearing arguments in the nation’s first C.R. Bard vaginal mesh trial ordered the company to pay $3.5 million of a $5.5 million judgment awarded to another Avaulta recipient. The Plaintiffs’ doctor was ordered to pay the remainder of the award.
C.R. Bard is just one of several companies named a defendant in the massive pelvic mesh litigations that now tally well over 67,000 filings in state and federal courts. Other medical device manufacturers involved in the litigations include American Medical Systems, Inc., Boston Scientific Corp., Ethicon, Inc., Coloplast, Inc. and Neomedic. Plaintiffs with pending cases claim that these manufacturers failed to adequately test their products for safety and effectiveness, which placed tens of thousands of women at risk for serious injuries, including organ damage, mesh erosion, chronic pain, and more.
According to court records, these litigations began to get underway in the wake of a 2008 warning issued by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the risk of serious pelvic mesh complications. In a follow-up issued in 2011, the agency stated that it no longer considered such complications to be rare in women who received transvaginal mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse.