Saturday, November 21, 2015 - The first C.R. Bard case involving the transvaginal mesh Avaulta reached a settlement last week for $3.6 million. The Avaulta transvaginal mesh product at the heart of the lawsuit allegedly was defective and caused serious pain and at times corrective surgeries for the women who had them implanted. The lawsuit was the first in the transvaginal mesh litigation to have been awarded damages as opposed to the two sides reaching a settlement.
The transvaginal mesh multidistrict litigation peaked at more than 80,000 lawsuits filed against the central manufacturers of the mesh devices, which have proven to be defective and the root cause of a series of serious injuries sustained by women who had the device implanted. The complaints made by plaintiffs center around allegations that transvaginal mesh devices designed by a number of medical device companies were seriously flawed and resulted in painful side effects for thousands of patients. The devices, originally designed to assist with organ prolapse and incontinence, would allegedly shrink or begin to deteriorate. This would result in serious pain in the pelvic region for patients, sometimes resulting in the need for additional surgeries to correct the malfunctioning device.
Roughly 3,000 deals have been made with plaintiffs as of the end of the summer. As a whole, this figure brought to an end close to 20 percent of all outstanding lawsuits against transvaginal mesh manufacturers pending in multidistrict litigation. The claimants are expected to receive an average of $67,000 per case, which tops the average for a series of smaller settlements the company made previously in the litigation.
The judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, advised C.R. Bard to consider a wide-ranging settlement with plaintiffs as individual cases had been fetching awards north of $1 million. One plaintiff was awarded $2 million dollars by a jury in 2013. Though the average amount of the settlements increased, the defendant will likely save money and expedite litigation with the $200 million settlement as opposed to going forward with individual trials in the multidistrict litigation.
Thus far in transvaginal mesh multidistrict litigation, more than $1 billion worth of payments have been made to plaintiffs in settlement deals. Boston Scientific reached a deal with plaintiffs that filed lawsuit against the company in May, paying a total of $119 million to claimants. Nearly 3,000 cases were included in that settlement. Johnson & Johnson agreed to settle the first four claims in the multidistrict litigation lawsuits filed against the company for confidential amounts. They were the first resolves cases in more than 20,000 pending against the company. Another transvaginal mesh manufacturer named in the lawsuits, Covidien, also reached confidential settlements with a number of plaintiffs. Covidien outpaced fellow defendant however, settling 11,000 transvaginal mesh cases filed against the company in July.
There are still thousands of transvagial mesh cases pending in multidistrict litigation in West Virginia, though the majority of them have been settled. Those still in litigation are expected to eventually receive settlements as trials that reach a jury‘s decision are oftentimes being awarded deals far beyond what a large-scale settlement could offer them individually, as in C.R. Bard‘s case.