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Courts Make It Easier for More Women to File Mesh Lawsuits

Hand holding Surgical Mesh

Women who have suffered from defective transvaginal mesh (TVM) — used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) — should have an easier time seeking legal recourse after recent court proceedings.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has assigned Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, an experienced judge already in charge of one mesh multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving the Avaulta products, to preside over a consolidation of 150 transferred cases and three MDLs. TVM products from American Medical Systems, Inc., Boston Scientific Corp., and Ethicon, Inc. will be part of the new MDL.

Many Cases Consolidated into an MDL

In an MDL, the pre-trial proceedings of similar cases are heard together for efficiency, but each case has its own trial. (In a class action, the lawsuits are tried together as one case for all the plaintiffs.)

The plaintiffs persuaded the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation that prosecution of claims against the TVM manufacturers would be simplified in one court because all of the products cause similar harm and many women were implanted with multiple defective products made by more than one manufacturer.

OBTape Lawsuits on the Rise

Meanwhile, the MDL for Mentor Corporation’s OBTape, a defective mesh that was used in Trans-obturator bladder slings, continues to add cases in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. There are approximately 30 individual lawsuits included so far. MDL No. 2004, presided over by Judge Clay D. Land, is slowly moving forward. Johnson & Johnson, which acquired Mentor Corp., has settled with plaintiffs after the first trial got under way.

Mentor’s ObTape was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003 under its 510(k) process, which means it did not have to go through premarket testing because it was deemed similar to other products on the market.

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