According to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, C.R. Bard just agreed to settle more than 500 of the approximately 12,500 vaginal mesh lawsuits that have been filed over the Bard Avaulta mesh device. A settlement amount was not released.
Most the C.R. Bard lawsuits have been consolidated in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) that has been centralized before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia.
After a lack of progress in settling large numbers of cases, Judge Goodwin established a second bellwether in early 2014 and selected 200 cases that are undergoing case-specific discovery to prepare them for trial by January 30, 2015. Based on a joint submission filed last month, the parties proposed the individual jurisdictions in which each case should be remanded for individual or consolidated trials, which may mean that the cases will be heard across the country, before different federal judges, and at the same time. The presiding judge is expected to send the Avaulta cases back to U.S. District Courts nationwide.
The complaints all similarly allege that women suffered significant adverse reactions allegedly following transvaginal mesh implantation to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The lawsuits also similarly allege that C.R. Bard’s Avaulta mesh product is defective and presents an extreme risk of eroding through the vagina, which leads to pelvic and other injuries and infections.
Bard indicated that it continues to be involved in negotiations which may lead to more case settlements.
In the first federal trial brought over the Bard Avaulta Plus, the plaintiff alleged that the design and material used in the product led to mesh erosion and severe vaginal and pelvic scarring. The jury in that case awarded a total of $2 million in both compensatory and punitive damages. The second trial ended last year when the parties involved reached a confidential agreement to settle the case on the trial’s first day. The third settlement involving the C.R. Bard Avaulta was reached just weeks before the bellwether trial was scheduled to begin.
Judge Goodwin is presiding over a number of transvaginal cases involving other manufacturers and devices, as well. According to the latest case list released last month, the following remain pending: 18,501 cases brought over Ethicon mesh; 17,901 brought over American Medical Systems (AMS) mesh; 12,199 brought over Boston Scientific mesh; 1,506 brought over Coloplast mesh; 213 brought over Cook Medical mesh; and 74 brought over Neomedic mesh.
Some bellwether trials involving AMS mesh were cancelled when AMS parent company, Endo Health Systems, reached an agreement to pay $830 million to settle most of the AMS mesh cases. This June, Coloplast was reaching a settlement to resolve 1,500 claims filed against it; Coloplast was reported to have settled another 400 cases for $16 million in March.