• Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits in Settlement Negotiations
  • April 7, 2015
  • Law Firm: Waters Kraus LLP - Dallas Office
  • C.R. Bard Inc., one of the manufacturers of vaginal mesh products that have injured thousands of women, is in the process of negotiating a possible settlement. Nationwide, the medical device maker has been sued in more than 14,000 state and federal lawsuits. Pelvic mesh, also called vaginal mesh or transvaginal mesh (TVM), is used to treat women with urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Thousands of women who have undergone surgery involving transvaginal mesh now suffer with pain and infections. Many must undergo additional surgery to remove the harmful mesh.

    C.R. Bard Considers Settlement of Thousands of Pending Pelvic Mesh Lawsuits

    U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin has appointed Ellen Reisman as a facilitator for the talks. Acting as a special master, Reisman will serve as a go-between with whom both sides can speak freely. Reisman reportedly served as national settlement counsel for another medical device maker, Endo International PLC, whose subsidiary, American Medical Systems Inc., agreed in 2014 to pay up to $1.6 billion to settle the 25,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits filed against that company.

    A bellwether trial had been scheduled in Judge Goodwin’s court for February 1, but the case settled prior to trial. Bellwether trials are used in mass tort cases where one type of product injures thousands of people. The court chooses the bellwether case from among cases proposed by those on both sides of the litigation. The case should be fairly representative of the issues in all of the cases. After the bellwether case is tried, the parties use the result to assess their chances for victory in other cases and oftentimes, to reach a settlement for the entire litigation.

    Judge Goodwin, who oversees almost 70,000 pelvic mesh lawsuits that have been consolidated in West Virginia, conducted private settlement conferences with lawyers for the vaginal mesh manufacturers on February 5 and 6. During those talks, Reisman described the specifics of the 2014 Endo settlement, which led to a serious discussion of settlement by Bard.

    Bard has already settled 500 cases but the vaginal mesh maker has also been willing to roll the dice at trial. In 2012, a jury awarded $5.5 million in a pelvic mesh case against Bard. The California Court of Appeals upheld that verdict in 2014. In 2013, another jury awarded $2 million in a vaginal mesh lawsuit against Bard.