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Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

About 40,200 transvaginal mesh lawsuits allege the implants caused complications including pain, bleeding, infection, organ perforation and autoimmune problems. So far, one of the largest settlements was about $830 million for 20,000 cases.

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If you received a transvaginal mesh implant and suffered from one of the following complications, you may be entitled to compensation.

  • Erosion
  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Urinary problems
  • Recurring prolapse
  • Recurring incontinence
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Number of Lawsuits More than 100,000

Plaintiff Injuries Mesh erosion, organ perforation, severe pain, dyspareunia

Defendants Ethicon, C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, Coloplast, Cook Medical, Neomedic

Class-action status One class-action in California

Litigation Status Several major settlements. Thousands of cases still pending

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Fast Facts

  • Women and their families are suing manufacturers of transvaginal mesh products over complications including erosion, infection, pain, urinary problems, recurring prolapse and recurring incontinence.
  • Seven multidistrict litigations are pending before the same judge in West Virginia and lawyers are still accepting cases.
  • There have been a handful of trials yielding multimillion-dollar verdicts and manufacturers have settled about 50,000 cases.

Thousands of women who received transvaginal mesh implants to treat a conditions called pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) claim they weren’t warned that the devices could cause severe pain, organ damage and other complications.

As of November 2017, seven mesh makers face several thousand lawsuits in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in West Virginia. Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit faces 26,393 lawsuits — the most of any manufacturer — followed by Boston Scientific at 8,603 and C.R. Bard at 3,621.

Some women who filed lawsuits have won multimillion-dollar verdicts against mesh manufacturers.

One of the jury verdicts sided with Christine Scott and her husband. They won a $5.5 million jury award in 2013.

Since 2012, women who have sued companies over transvaginal mesh have won at least 20 verdicts in state and federal courts totaling around $300 million. By March 2017, multiple companies had settled thousands of claims for millions.

Transvaginal Mesh Litigation Status

Lawyers are actively accepting transvaginal mesh cases for injuries such as erosion, infection, pain, urinary problems, recurring prolapse and recurring incontinence.

At one time there were about 100,000 lawsuits pending in federal court before Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in West Virginia. Many have settled, gone to trial or have been dismissed. But as of November 2017, more than 40,200 lawsuits were still awaiting some kind of action.

In February 2012, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation agreed to consolidate cases against three companies into MDLs in the Southern District of West Virginia, where one transvaginal mesh MDL already existed.

CASES IN TRANSVAGINAL MESH MDLS AS OF NOVEMBER 2017

Company Pending Actions Total Actions
C.R. Bard 3,621 15,568
American Medical Systems 1,264 21,180
Boston Scientific 8,603 25,334
Ethicon 26,393 39,442
Coloplast 145 2,620
Cook Medical 186 635
Source: Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation

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ObTape Multidistrict Litigation

Before the JPML formed the main mesh MDL in West Virginia, the first transvaginal mesh lawsuits involved a device called ObTape manufactured by Mentor. In 2008, the judicial panel combined several of these cases into a multidistrict litigation. A total of 857 lawsuits were included in this one MDL between 2008 and 2017.

In 2016, the judge overseeing the MDL asked the judicial panel to stop adding cases to the ObTape MDL. He said the MDL had received too many lawsuits that did not have enough evidence to stand up in court and cases that had missed the time limit for filing a lawsuit.

The judicial panel has not closed the ObTape MDL. Women seeking compensation for ObTape injuries can also still file claims in state courts.

Injuries You Can Sue For

Drugwatch’s legal partners are accepting claims from women who received transvaginal mesh for prolapse or stress urinary incontinence and suffered injuries such as mesh erosion, infection, pain, urinary problems, recurring prolapse or recurring incontinence.

Injuries you can sue for include:

  • Mesh erosion – Erosion occurs when mesh implant damages vaginal walls or internal organs.
  • Infection – Studies show that bacteria can grow on mesh implants and cause infection.
  • Pain – Mesh may damage nerves, cut through tissues or shrink, causing scarring and pain — including painful intercourse.
  • Urinary problems – Mesh may block the bladder making it difficult to urinate.
  • Recurring prolapse – Even after mesh surgery, the implant can fail and cause recurring prolapse.
  • Recurring incontinence – Some women experience new or worsened incontinence of the bladder or rectum.

The injuries caused by mesh erosion and other complications caused women severe pain and hindered regular activities, such as sitting, walking and having sex, according to lawsuits. The complications were so bad that many women had to undergo multiple revision surgeries to remove the mesh.

Other mesh injuries mentioned in previously filed lawsuits include:

  • Mesh contraction
  • Fistula (an abnormal connection between two organs such as the vagina and rectum)
  • Inflammation
  • Scar tissue
  • Organ perforation
  • Painful sex
  • Blood loss
  • Nerve damage and pain

Lawsuit Allegations Against Manufacturers

Women who filed transvaginal mesh lawsuits claim that mesh manufacturers “had a legal duty to ensure the safety and effectiveness of their pelvic mesh products” but instead provided patients with “false and misleading information” about how safe and effective the products supposedly were.

Lawsuits accuse mesh manufacturers of:

  • Intentionally misleading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the medical community, patients and the public about the true safety and effectiveness of transvaginal mesh products
  • Failing to properly test transvaginal mesh
  • Failure to research the risks of surgical mesh
  • Failing to create safe and effective methods to remove transvaginal mesh
  • Failing to adequately warn people of potential complications and injuries

Settlements & Verdicts

So far, mesh manufacturers have paid out billions in settlements and jury verdicts. As of June 2017, at least 18 bellwether cases in the West Virginia MDLs had been tried, settled, dismissed or delayed.

People who filed lawsuits have won verdicts totaling more than $49 million in 10 of the bellwether trials. Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon has won the only defense verdict of any of the companies in the MDLs.

Since 2014, companies have agreed to settlements in thousands of cases in the MDLs including:

  • May 2014

    AMS settled 20,000 claims

  • January 2014

    Coloplast settled 400 lawsuits

  • October 2014

    Bard settled 500 lawsuits

  • January 2015

     Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson) settled four lawsuits

  • April 2015

    Boston Scientific settled 3,000 claims

  • August 2015

    Bard settled another 3,000 claims

  • December 2015

    Neomedic settled 112 claims

  • August 2017

    Remaining 22,000 AMS claims settled

  • December 2017

    Boston Scientific settled about 350 claims

Examples of Lawsuits with Verdicts

Johnson & Johnson, Bard and Boston Scientific each lost multiple bellwether trials, and the MDL court has urged those companies to settle more lawsuits. So far, Johnson & Johnson has only agreed to settle four lawsuits and continued to defend itself in court.

Blankenship, Campbell, Tyree and Wilson v. Boston Scientific

Jeanie Blankenship, Carol Sue Campbell, Jacquelyn Tyree and Chris Rene Wilson had each been implanted with Boston Scientific Obtryx mesh. In 2014, a New Jersey jury held Boston Scientific responsible for the women’s medical bills and suffering. The four women shared $14.5 million for their injuries and another $4 million in punitive damages.

DuBois-Jean, Dotres, Nunez and Betancourt v. Boston Scientific

Margarette DuBois-Jean, Margarita Dotres, Maria Nunez and Juana Betancourt all claimed the company had been negligent in the Pinnacle mesh’s defective design. In 2014, a Florida jury awarded each of the women more than $6 million in November 2014, but Boston Scientific appealed. In October 2017, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the $26.7 million verdict.

Hammons v. Ethicon

Patricia Hammons won a $12.5 million award after she sued Johnson & Johnson for injuries one of its transvaginal mesh products caused. Hammons’ Prolift implant failed and she had multiple revision surgeries. The jury awarded Hammons $5.5 million for her injuries and $7 million in punitive damages.

Engleman v. Ethicon

Peggy Engleman won a $20 million jury verdict after she said Ethicon’s TVT-Secur device caused serious complications and the company did not warn her. The device caused pain, bleeding and infections that required multiple surgeries to fix, her lawsuit said.

Hyrmoc v. Ethicon

Elizabeth Hyrmoc won $4 million for pain and suffering and $10 million for punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary. The New Jersey jury also awarded $1 million for loss of conjugal affection. Hyrmoc received Ehticon’s Prolift and transvaginal tape for incontinence and had several corrective surgeries for pain and other complications.

Transvaginal Mesh Class Action

Currently, there are no active transvaginal mesh class actions. But in 2015, Federal Insurance Company filed a class-action suit against Caldera Medical Inc. Caldera faced 2,184 claims from women who said the company’s mesh products injured them.

In 2016, the companies set aside a settlement fund of $11.75 million for these claimants. However, the settlement is still pending the court’s approval. The case is Federal Insurance Company v. Caldera Medical, Inc. and the case number is 2:15-CV-00393. The deadline to submit a claim was May 2, 2016.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.

Author

Michelle Y. Llamas is a senior content writer. She is also the host of Drugwatch Podcast where she interviews medical experts as well as patients affected by drugs and medical devices. She has written medical and legal content for several years — including an article in The Journal of Palliative Medicine and an academic book review for Nova Science Publishers. With Drugwatch, she has developed relationships with legal and medical professionals as well as with several patients and support groups. Prior to writing for Drugwatch, she spent several years as a legal assistant for a personal injury law firm in Orlando. She obtained her English – Technical Communication degree from the University of Central Florida. She is a committee member with the American Medical Writers Association.


Legally Reviewed By

Hide Sources

  1. Blackston et al. v. Ethicon et al. (2012, April 27). U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri Kansas City Division. Complaint and Jury Demand. Case no. 3:16-cv-01251 Retrieved from https://jc6kx1c9izw3wansr3nmip8k-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2012-04-30-Gynecare-TVT-Sling-Complaint.pdf
  2. Federal Insurance Company V. Caldera Medical Inc. et al. (2015, January 20). U.S. District Court Central District of California. Complaint in the Nature of Interpleader. Retrieved from https://www.plainsite.org/dockets/2jnha9qr7/california-central-district-court/federal-insurance-company-v-caldera-medical-inc-et-al/
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