In a pretrial order to American Medical Systems Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia established a timeline for selecting five transvaginal mesh cases that will be bellwether trials in the multidistrict litigation entitled In Re: American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2325.
Bellwether cases are chosen to represent common claims and theories among a large group of plaintiffs. The verdicts in these trials are useful in the remaining cases and can also serve to guide settlements. Thousands of transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been consolidated into five pending MDLs involving a number of manufacturers of transvaginal mesh.
The women who brought these lawsuits allege that transvaginal mesh devices, used to repair pelvic organ prolapse and other things, have caused them serious and permanent injuries. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most common complications associated with transvaginal mesh include:
- Mesh erosion through the vagina (also called extrusion or protrusion)
- Pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Organ perforation
- Urinary problems
The first transvaginal mesh lawsuit to go to trial resulted in an $11.1 million verdict for the plaintiff, Bloomberg News reports. Johnson & Johnson, manufacturer of the Gynecare Prolift mesh implant, was ordered to pay $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.76 million for punitive damages.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP represents a number of plaintiffs in transvaginal mesh cases. Gary Falkowitz, managing attorney at Parker Waichman, welcomed the news that the multidistrict litigation is moving forward and that “women who suffer from the serious side effects and complications allegedly caused by their transvaginal mesh implant” will have the opportunity to tell their stories.