Women who file a successful transvaginal mesh lawsuit may receive compensation following a trial verdict or a settlement. Drugwatch can help you explore your legal options.
Transvaginal mesh injuries can cause a lot of pain and change a woman’s life. They require sophisticated medical help and, often, multiple surgeries or procedures. Even then, doctors make no guarantees.
Women who need help are learning some hard facts about this invasive and deeply personal condition. Many times the only way they can afford to pay for the healthcare they need is to file a lawsuit against a manufacturer of their defective mesh products and hold them accountable through a legal settlement or a winning verdict in court. The legal system helps them obtain money to cover doctor costs and hospital bills.
If you’ve been injured by a mesh implant, it’s a good idea to talk to a qualified transvaginal mesh attorney about potentially filing a legal claim. An experienced mesh attorney can help you find out if you’re eligible for compensation. There is no guarantee that your lawsuit will be successful. Consultations are usually free and, if you later file a successful lawsuit, it could help improve your quality of life following transvaginal mesh injury.
Verdicts and Settlements
As juries returned favorable verdicts in mesh cases, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin warned device makers to cut their losses, urging them to settle outstanding claims and avoid massive court costs and even more losses. Perhaps not surprisingly, some companies opted to settle cases before trial.
Johnson & Johnson – Ethicon
Of all the mesh manufacturers, J&J’s Ethicon has been the slowest to offer settlements. The company also faces the highest number of federal lawsuits. The company wants to weed out unworthy claims before offering a settlement. But in January 2015, the company settled four lawsuits for an undisclosed amount.
A federal jury in West Virginia awarded $3.27 million to Jo Husky in September 2014. Huskey claimed her Ethicon Gynecare TVT mesh caused permanent injuries and the company failed to warn her.
In 2013, a New Jersey jury returned an $11 million verdict against Ethicon for injuries caused by its Gynecare Prolift. Another woman also won $1.2 million in Texas state court against J&J.
In December 2014, Goodwin asked C.R. Bard to settle more of its cases, or it could face billions in jury verdicts. Bard had its first federal trial in July 2013, and the jury returned a verdict of $2 million against Bard, siding with plaintiff Donna Cisson. The damaging evidence convinced the jury that Bard did not adequately test its Avaulta implant in humans or use “reasonable care” in designing the implant. The jury also found the company caused the plaintiff’s injuries by failing to warn her doctor about Avaulta’s risks.
The award included $250,000 in compensatory damages, as well as $1.75 in punitive damages because of Bard’s “conscious indifference to [the] consequences” of its conduct. The company appealed the verdict and in January 2015, a judge upheld it.
A second federal bellwether was scheduled to begin a few days after the $2 million verdict, but the parties settled the case hours before the trial started. Another case pending in New Jersey also settled a few days before the trial was scheduled to begin in late September 2013.
In 2012, a California jury reached the same conclusion regarding Bard’s negligence. It returned a $5.5 million verdict for Christine Scott, including $5 million for the plaintiff’s medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages, and $500,000 for her husband’s loss of consortium claim. Bard was held responsible for paying $3.6 million of the verdict. Bard also lost this appeal.
American Medical Systems
Weeks before the Bard verdict, American Medical Systems Inc. (AMS), a unit of Endo Pharmaceuticals, agreed to settle an unspecified number of claims for $54.4 million. The settlement agreement involved lawsuits filed in both state and federal courts and was reached in June 2013, just a month after AMS estimated its liability at $159.8 million. AMS was among several companies the FDA ordered to conduct post-market studies of surgical mesh in 2012. Since 2008, thousands of mesh cases were filed alleging that AMS products, which were implanted to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, led to complications such as fistulas.
In May 2014, AMS reached another agreement with multiple plaintiffs’ law firms to settle approximately 20,000 mesh claims for up to $830 million. The total amount paid will ultimately depend on the number of participating claims. If less than all of the claimants participate, the total settlement amount will be reduced by a certain amount for each non-participating claim agreed to by the parties.
The settlement is also subject to participation thresholds for each firm. To be eligible for an award, the majority of claimants represented by a particular firm must participate in the settlement. If the majority of claimants represented by a particular firm decline to participate, AMS reserves the right to terminate the settlement agreement with that firm. In addition to the participation thresholds, the settlement is also subject to court approval.
Boston Scientific lost two federal trials back-to-back in November 2014. One federal jury in West Virginia awarded $18.5 million to the plaintiffs. It also found that the company acted with “gross negligence” and included $1 million in punitive damages for each of the four plaintiffs. A Miami federal jury awarded $26.7 million a week before to women who claimed they were injured by the Pinnacle device.
In September 2014, a Texas state jury awarded plaintiff Martha Salazar $73 million. The jury found the company was “grossly negligent” and included $50 million in punitive damages.
In early 2014, Bloomberg News reported that Danish device maker Coloplast agreed to pay $16 million to settle about 400 mesh lawsuits. The plaintiffs, who received Coloplast’s vaginal mesh inserts to treat pelvic organ prolapse, will receive payments averaging $40,000 each. The agreement was reportedly reached in January, but under the terms of the settlement agreement, the plaintiffs aren’t allowed to discuss the details.
It is important to remember that each transvaginal mesh case is different, so there is no guarantee that you will receive a favorable verdict or a settlement if you file a claim. But a qualified mesh attorney can explain your legal options.
Compensation for Mesh Injuries
In recent years, tens of thousands of injured women have filed lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the nation. A few cases have already gone to trial, resulting in favorable verdicts for the plaintiffs, while others have settled.
Details of each case are different, which affects the outcome. But plaintiffs who filed lawsuits have made similar claims, including allegations that manufacturers failed to design and test the safety of mesh products properly for use in the human body. Plaintiffs also allege that manufacturers are liable for injuries because they failed to warn doctors and consumers about the products’ health risks.
Manufacturers sent mesh implants to market with claims that they were safe, effective treatments for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. They continue to stand by their claims despite losing trial verdicts and lawsuit settlements. But according to studies reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is unclear whether surgical repairs with mesh are more effective than other treatment options. The FDA has also warned that serious complications such as mesh erosion are “not rare.”