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Mesh Trials Ahead with No Prospect of Settling

Scale of Justice, Wikicommons

Mesh Medical Device News Desk (MND), April 18, 2017~Protracted transvaginal mesh (TVM) litigation has many law firms moving onto the next attractive Mass Tort and clearing out their inventory.

What remains when the dust settles?  

The online add for the publisher Harris Martin promises an upcoming legal education conference on hernia mesh, Benicar, Xarelto, testosterone drugs, and Bair Hugger – all the latest, shiniest Mass Torts that promise to deliver litigation lightning while reducing risk to the bottom line of plaintiffs’ law firm. Plaintiffs should make something too.

Meanwhile transvaginal mesh litigation, with about 150,000 U.S. plaintiffs, and thousands others overseas, lingers with the largest mesh makers the longest holdouts to the settlement table.

Protest in Charleston WV fed court, June 2015

That was supposed to be the aim of the multidistrict litigation (MDL) where the bulk of transvaginal mesh cases, filed against seven manufacturers, are consolidated.

Try a few cases, see which way juries will decide and have that serve as a basis to approach some reasonable settlements in these defective product cases. But that hasn’t happened.

The primary strategy by Ethicon and by C.R. Bard is to basically say you need money more than we do, you have no prospect unless you take what we offer now, and that’s offensive to me,” says New Jersey attorney Adam Slater.

He is based near the Bergen County court where transvaginal mesh cases will be heard in succession beginning at the end of this year and into next.

Adam Slater

Slater says he is insulted by the offers.

“I won’t sit at a table with anyone who says that to me.  They have to be reasonable, and what they’ve done is very serious, or else I will continue to prepare to ultimately get reasonable offers for my clients.”

Mazie Slater is one of the law firms still taking transvaginal mesh cases filed by women who claim a lifetime of injuries from the polypropylene implants used to treat incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Slater says he doesn’t see an end to the litigation and adds, “I’m not going to stop.”

Here is a MND story on law firms that remain in TVM litigation.

 


TRIALS AHEAD

Linda Gross trial, Atlantic City NJ Feb 2013

For the remaining trial lawyers, litigating pelvic mesh cases will continue for years.

The next trial for C.R. Bard is in Bergen County, New Jersey by October 30th, and possibly sooner.

Slater says he is in full scale litigation against Bard with no prospects for settlement.

“Bard said you will never get to trial. I said “Watch me.””

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas has 190 transvaginal mesh cases in line to be tried against defendants Boston Scientific and Ethicon/ Johnson & Johnson. Currently the Engleman v. Ethicon trial is underway.

April 18th, a Pelvic Mesh Meeting was scheduled.

**Update 11 new cases were set for trial as a result of yesterday’s meeting. All but two name Ethicon/ J&J, the other two name Boston Scientific as a defendant. See the schedule here.

In Philadelphia, six cases against Ethicon have a trial date certain. One naming Defendant Boston Scientific is set for  March 2018.  See the Pelvic Mesh Case list here.

Ethicon/ Johnson & Johnson, has proven to be a holdout, offering a smattering of settlements, particularly on individual cases just before trial. Instead, it quietly took its most troubling meshes off the market.

Boston Scientific too has proven to be tough defendant to bring to the negotiating table.

Mostyn Law is planning a trial against Boston Scientific to be heard in Los Angeles Superior Court, July 31, 2017.  Six plaintiffs’s cases may be heard among the possible 247 filed. See JCCP 4733 here.

Another Ethicon/ Johnson & Johnson case is set for trial in Bergen Co. November 27, 2017 with a November 13th date set for jury selection.

Slater says his position with Ethicon is the same – No Prospect of Settling!

I’m aware of the numbers offered. No way would I ever offer that to my clients,” he tells MND.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers filing into Charleston court.

With 102,000 product liability cases naming seven mesh makers filed in Charleston, WV, consolidated in multidistrict litigation, there are an additional 1,000 cases naming C.R. Bard filed in New Jersey and another 9,000 naming Ethicon/ Johnson & Johnson in the same court.  Some of those have settled.

AMS (American Medical Systems), sold to Endo International in 2011 and stopped making pelvic mesh one year ago.  AMS/Endo agreed to a mass settlement of its transvaginal mesh cases. Because of that move, there was no discovery required to prepare for trial, therefore little evidence on which to base litigation.

Caldera Medical has offered about 2,700 women a dwindling amount of insurance money, about $11.75 million, the amount that remained after legal wrangling with its insurance carrier.

Those settlement packets of approximately $4,000 per plaintiff are currently being sent out. It does not include legal fees and expenses, which will cut the settlement dollars roughly in half.

 

 

Pain by Jade R

WHEN  SETTLING MAKES SENSE 

The harsh truth is that most of the 102,000 cases filed in multidistrict litigation will never pass the threshold of the courtroom.

Many plaintiffs refuse to accept the amount of dollars offered in a settlement.  When they retained a law firm it was often with the promise of a “million dollar case.”

That is a red flag as no one can promise you the outcome of your case. There are far too many variables, such as a jury, for example. But still, emotions run high when a promise made isn’t kept.

Of the cases tried, most have resulted in jury awards compensating them for pain and suffering, for past and future medical care, and punitive damages.

Then the appeals process begins, which can take years. About four cases that won at the trial level, have exhausted the appeals process and been paid to the plaintiff.  Gross v. Ethicon,  the first New Jersey case against Johnson & Johnson, is on the eve of paying its $11.1 million jury award after nearly four years of appeals by J&J.

So when do you accept a settlement?  For many women settlements make a lot of sense.

Scales of Justice, WikiCommons

If you have a mesh in place and for the present time, are still able to function, a settlement might make sense. A lawyer can structure an annuity so the money is doled out for a longer time and it’s tax free.

There is no waiting years for the appeals process to wind through the court.

There is an immense downside in going to trial that many plaintiffs do not consider. A woman’s life is on display including her most intimate pelvic problems, she lives away from home, maybe for months, must be deposed by lawyers for the mesh makers and probed in a pelvic exam done by doctors for defense. There is always some degree of public humiliation about her weight, or preexisting conditions or her sex life. And there is no telling what a jury will do.

But if you think you have no options but stay with your current law firm, think again.

“I’m hearing stories of women being threatened by their attorney that they will face a penalty if they talk to another law firm. It is unethical to make that threat under New Jersey law.  The client owns the case, not the lawyer,” he tells Mesh News Desk. ###

 

33 Comments

  1. Annonymous K says:

    I was told by my attorney that if I didnt take the settlement (peanuts by the way) that he would instruct me to seek another attorney! So basically dropping me as a client even though he states I have a good case! So I guess I am seeking a new attorney at this time.

  2. Sad says:

    Attorney Slater you are awesome! Thank you for standing up to the pharmaceutical companies!
    Your quote “watch me” brightened my day! You are a true warrior for us victims.
    Thank you and God Bless you always!

    • Jane Akre says:

      Amending complaints. Nj dockets are hard to get so I don’t know offhand. Anyone?

      • Anon says:

        Jane, I was wondering abouit the legal language in one of those– looks to be a settlement. Also NJ docs are showing language to allow Linda Gross as precedent.

        It is hard to tell how many on the full case list have settled or have been removed.

  3. Janis Urban says:

    and… Justice 4 All! Justice Slow-Justice Denied! Plastic is Toxic Poison to All Living Beings! All the Biochemical Coatings and Dips used in and on the Mesh Devices can not change the FACTS, That it is still a piece of Toxic Plastic! Stay strong EV1!

  4. Angry says:

    PLEASE PLEASE be very careful when one considers dropping their law firm and getting another. One BIG issue is statue of limitations will come into play trust me. Add to that because most found out the hard way, what alot of these firms tell you on the phone is alot of false hope. Try asking your lawyer a well thought out question. After you get a answer by talking on the phone, email them a question. What response will you get? OH let’s set up a time for you to have a phone consolidation. You will never get a answer by email to a pin them down to answer a question in any form of writing. Alot of these lawyers firms, even some of the best knew a long time ago that most of these cases would NEVER see a court room in spite of being seriously injured for life. Instead of truly fighting for justice, they took the short road. WHY? Because there are other junk medical products waiting in line for them. These pharmaceutical companies know that and rather pay a small price over and over again because our judicial system continues to allow them to get away with it. This leaves big bucks in the hands of the pharmaceutical companies to go buy out smaller drug companies just like J and J is doing. Bottom line is I do not trust any lawyer anymore, none of them. Slatter might mean well and he may get a few more trials in but he can’t win in a badly broken system. I have so much info that I wish I could share but I just cant. Ladies this MDL is a rotten joke and I feel these lawyers knew exactly what was going to be the end product. I often wonder if one of these high power attorneys wife, daughter, granddaughter ect was injured would they advise her to settle? Would see see her day in court? What a crime!

  5. Kitty says:

    ANGRY..someday…you may share. “Hell hath no wrath like a woman scorned” ….or if you like “Do not caste me out in my old age or forsake me not when my strength fails” Have faith…”what goes around ..comes around”

    • Angry says:

      Kittys you are so right. I have never been so angry for so long. I know one can not heal when your holding in so much plus dealing with relentless pain. Yes every dog has their day and their day will come one way or another. God don’t like ugly.

      • Kitty says:

        . I didn’t detect terrible anger in your post…a sadness. It was very informative and reflective. Also a warning “Fools Rush in where Angels fear to Tread” thank you. Also Thank You Jane for giving us this gift of this site.

  6. Kathy says:

    Remember if not for these lawyers we wouldn’t of even have found doctors to fix this. You may not be getting the millions you want but they helped us and a lot of other ways as well . If they hadn’t started to suit the doctors would’ve never of knowledge the problems

    • Angry says:

      Help us find a Dr to remove mesh? Are you serious? Just what mesh injured need a lawyer referring revision doctors. I would agree with you if there was a better solution to help these women other then “let’s hurry up and put women in tiers, this is not a one size fits all. What about future pain, suffering, unable to work ect. I’m sorry but it’s being treated like a class action and it isn’t it is personal injury.

    • Angry says:

      Kathy yes women had no recourse with out obtaining a lawyer. When your up against a pharmaceutical giants that have the financial means to drag this on for ever and the knowledge to find every loop hole to manipulate our system. Yes with out them your done. BUT the point to this conversation is this. Only a few firms are willing to fight for fair justice based 9n the magnitude of these complications. These cases are not a fender bender or a slip and fall that physical therapy can help and the person can get back to living a productive (normal) life. This was my point not that lawyers didn’t do nothing.

    • Kitty says:

      Kathy.. I too was concerned with that statement. I went back to my Dr that performed the transvaginal mesh implants andhysterectomy. He flatly denied there was anything wrong with me. “She has sexual issues with her husband…absolutely nothing wrong with her.” He wrote. A year later after extreme shame and embarrassment for even going back to him with my concerns…I was self cathing as the mesh eroded into my vagina. This Dr may be driving around in a big limo…but what do I know…ask Jade.

  7. Anon says:

    Dear Jane,

    Could you post a quick article to alert others to sign this petition for help from the DOJ or someone regarding TVT Mesh and hernia repair. If we get enough signatures maybe the matter will raise awareness or get the asttention it deserves.

    Here is the link to the petition

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/investigate-pharmaceutical-companies-lack-response-regarding-transvaginal-mesh-and-hernia-mesh

  8. Anon says:

    Here is a very interesting article.

    Call for end to TVT mesh implants after complications ‘covered up’
    The call for a ban comes as Sky News sees the leaked minutes from a meeting on how to target the under-reporting of complications.

    http://news.sky.com/story/call-for-end-to-tvt-mesh-implants-after-complications-covered-up-10842078

  9. Anonymous says:

    Interesting article

    Woman left with ‘deadly vagina’ after TVT operation | Daily Mail Online
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4334458/Woman-left-deadly-vagina-TVT-operation.html

  10. Anonymous says:

    Afew cases that were scheduled for a court date look as if they settled?

    http://www.njcourts.gov/mass-tort/pelvicmesh/gynecare/CMO35.pdf

  11. Kitty says:

    Very interesting…What is the reason this is not in the “Wall Street Journal.”? The Washington Post”? the ” New York Times”. the “Chicago Tribune?et al I am sure many of us have called and left a story..no interest?

  12. Angry says:

    Kittys like alot of us. I sent my story to just about every major news media out there. Not just my story either. I tried for all of us that have been dealing with this big mess. I held nothing back but only one outlet ever seemed interested. I don’t know what happened but this person dropped any more contacts with me. I had a gut feeling she was told by her higher ups DON’T GO THERE. Every other commercial on TV is some new drug that is being pushed. That is exactly why this is hush hush. They know who butters their bread.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Agreed angry. How unfortunate that our media is not pursuing this story… I will never understand it.

    • Still standing says:

      There are currently 71 MDLs around product liability/personal injury in the United States. Personal injury lawsuits make up more than 29% of all of the pending MDLS, which also include sales practices, air disaster, antitrust; employment practices, intellectual property, etc. We look at our injuries and they are always at the top of our mind. Those who are suffering harm from other products also beleive their stories should be heard as a priority. Can you imagine how many news tips they get each day even just from the 71 MDL personal injury litigants? There is only so much news that newspapers especially print media can tackle. There have been tremendous job losses in newsrooms. I had a friend who was vice president of a major newspaper owned by McClatchey. She survived 7 rounds of cuts over a couple of years, then the eight round axed her. If you aren’t reading at least one major newpaper a day, then therein lies the problem with the Times or WSJ or Tribune. They are also being tasked with condensing news into short pieces tht can be fed to online news or social media. It is now common thinking that news consumers will only pay attention to online stories and videos that are five minutes or less. How do you tell these compelling stories? There are still invetigative reporters, but their editor has to be committed to allowing a news investigator to spend hundreds of hours developing the story.

      That doesn’t mean mesh is not a story worthy of investigation. It is. But, newspapers are privately owned and profit drives them in similar ways that profit drove the rush to mesh. It is a tough time to to try to get significant and deep stories out.

      • Kitty says:

        Weii….the “killer Vagina” that is a human Venous Flytrap is a remarkable headline.

        • Still Standing says:

          Well, the Daily Mail has a reputation of sensationalism. They have been banned by Wikipedia as a credible news source. The killer vagina mesh article, though maybe true, made me cringe. The focus was less about serious mesh complications and more about her companion’s penis. Not a great way to advance serious public understanding of mesh injuries.

          • Kitty says:

            Well that is the way to get people to read: Sensationalism!!..then we can discuss intelligently

          • Jane Akre says:

            It certainly got youall to read it! Maybe mesh news desk should go sensational!!! Biting vaginas let loose on the US… Yikes.

          • Kitty says:

            Can u imagine how it must make others cringe?. That also may be a reason it is not in the news. Such a beautiful “sacrement” if u will— Sex between a husband and wife and it has been reduced to such vulgarity.

          • Cara says:

            Jane, can I tell you that your remark about biting vagina’s let loose in the U.S has me snorting? I have not been able to have a sense of humor about any of this, but that made my day.I pictured biting vaginas that looked like dentures on the loose.Hysterical.There are times that I have been suicidal over the pain and loss of intimacy with my husband.Sometimes a sense of humor can be good medicine.

          • Jane Akre says:

            Funny comment you make about laughing. it indeed is good medicine and worth while pursuing, if you can.

  13. Angry says:

    Still Standing I feel with 100,000 women pretty much mutilated that’s news worthy. I personally knew two women that committed suicide from unbearable pain. I stopped listening to the news from hearing so much bull crap. Over 100,000 women injured, this should be on every form of social media. There is one reason, it’s how these media out let’s make money, lots of money! We will never know what percentage of their revenue comes from the pharmaceutical killer but I would imagine it’s alot.

  14. Kitty says:

    Also forgot to mention….Wouldn’t the folks like to know who dun it?

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