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*New* Judge Goodwin’s June 2 Status Hearing – on Mesh, Medicare and Media

Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, overseeing bellwether mesh trials

Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, overseeing federal mesh trials

Many readers have asked about the contents of the June 2 Status hearing in Charleston, West Virginia called by Judge Joseph Goodwin. He is overseeing more than 77,000 pelvic mesh cases in his federal courtroom. The hearing brought lawyers from five mesh manufacturers (Bard, AMS, Boston Scientific, Ethicon and Coloplast) as well as the attorneys representing plaintiffs.

Among the updates, Judge Goodwin spoke to the mesh – injured women present in the courtroom who had traveled to Charleston as part of Mesh Awareness Movement (MAM).  It is clear that behind the scenes, the system is gearing up for mass settlements and how that money will be used to compensate Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies.

The following is a summary of the 27 page report, which will be made available to subscribers of Mesh News Desk here.  

 

aaabard logoC.R. BARD

Lori cohen and team in charleston

Cohen and company in Charleston

Bard goes first and  plaintiffs’ attorney Henry Garrard said there have been multiple depositions in the Bard litigation over the last several months in relation to Wave III cases.  Lori Cohen, representing Bard, says yes they have been working cooperatively with the plaintiffs’ counsel on Wave 2 and Wave 3 cases.

Judge Goodwin thanks both sides for their professionalism in maintain schedules and on keeping cool.  (page 5)

 

AMERICAN MEDICAL SYSTEMSAMS logo

Adrianne Theis represents American Medical Systems.  Currently over 280 firms are participating in the AMS settlements that are designed to resolve about 95 percent  of the U.S. pelvic mesh claims. She said they are authorizing payments for claimants (page 7). “Right now there are 2,500 MDL cases have been dismissed or are currently pending dismissal.”  They are aiming to have 8,000 cases on the inactive docket by the end of the month, either dismissed or inactive.

 

bs logoBOSTON SCIENTIFIC

As far as Boston Scientific, Clayton Clark for the plaintiffs said they have now entered settlement negotiations “and have gotten very close to finality with at least three significant dockets, and a process has begun to include, I think, all the remainder of Boston Scientific plaintiffs.”(page 8).

Judge Goodwin says (page 9) “I never dreamed I would have 75,000 cases. I never dreamed I would have seven MDLs, and I never dreamed I would have quite as many good lawyers as I’ve had. I don’t have very many clunkers, and I won’t identify them.  We are coming along quite nicely now, and I am in much better humor than you found me before.  It seems like the time that I have been on the bench in our past meetings I have been giving lectures. I will try to avoid that today. Thank you very much.”

Cook asks that they be notified when they’re being added to other MDLs as a co-defendant in an amended complaint.

 

ETHICONEthicon  200

Ethicon plaintiffs are represented by Bryan Aylstock.

Like the other MDLs, we’ve always gotten along with our counterparts on the other side, representing Ethicon.

Judge Goodwin: “Always is a slight exaggeration, isn’t it?

Aylstock: “Maybe so. We have had our disagreements, but Judge Eifert’s always been able to handle those for the most part before they get to Your Honor.” (page 11)

Discovery is ongoing. As the Court is aware, there is a large number of different products involved in the Ethicon MDL, about a dozen, and so we’re continuing to work through the discovery and the privilege log issues. There are trials set throughout the country.

Edwards v. Ethicon is set for August 24 in Charleston. There is another Ethicon set for  Just, August and September as well as one in Philadelphia beginning in December.  Judge Martinotti has set a couple of cases for 2015 as well in Massachusetts and “has encouraged the parties through his mandatory mediation program, and that’s progressing.”

Christy Jones, an attorney for Ethicon, adds she thinks the Court is aware of the status of the negotiations.  (page 12).

 

COLOPLAST

Lana Varney represents Coloplast. She says progress is being made using the early case assessment protocol.   Pretrial Order #65 lays out the protocol. They expect to have medical records by July 21.  Defendants have agreed to extend the deadline under #65 until the end of July.

JUDGE GOODWIN ON COMMUNICATION

Judge Goodwin made the following statement about lawyers communicating with their clients:

Judge Joseph Goodwin

Judge Joseph Goodwin

“I think I should say to all of you, some who may not know this, that these lawyers are acting on behalf of not only themselves and their personal clients but as appointed leaders in the multidistrict litigation. Many of the lawyers here today spend a considerable amount of their time ably representing and communicating with lawyers throughout the nation who have these cases and the effort which was just described, recirculating information, is something that goes on frequently. It is frustrating in any case for lawyers and clients to have adequate communication. One of the struggles that lawyers always have is keeping their clients informed. Clients have an obligation in that regard, too. Many clients don’t stay in touch with the lawyers. Some have even moved and not left a forwarding address. But in any event, I applaud the able leadership for their efforts to keep everybody informed.

And then I would encourage the individual plaintiffs who have questions about their case to contact their individual lawyers. The leadership will be happy to try to help you where they can, but your lawyer is still responsible for your case, and they are the ones that should be able to provide you with the answers to your questions. If they don’t have the answer, they will move swiftly to get it for you. “

 

RESOLVING MEDICARE CLAIMS 

Finally, the Garretson Resolution Group has been appointed by the Court to deal with liens from Medicare and Medicaid.  The task has been to come up with a consolidated program to resolve Medicare claims when/if there is a settlement. He says they have worked with government to come up with a global resolution program. That results in fixed settlement amounts depending on the degree of injury that Medicare is reimbursed.  That resolves the cases without doing one at a time and a verification procedure has been set up to make sure the payments to Medicare are timely on a monthly basis. (page 15) The government has agreed to waive the requirement that all defendants have to report every single settlement to the federal government, allowing defendant companies to bypass the “cumbersome process”.

 

RESOLVING MEDICAID CLAIMS

Mr. Garretson had good news on the front of resolving outstanding Medicaid claims with individual states. Partially federal funded and administered by the states, any claimant must first verify entitlement. This is done as a lien resolution administrator and must be verified with every state and territory whether any settling claimants are is due an entitlement.  Then the states agree to a cap, for example 20 percent, unlike the Medicare reimbursement which is a fixed amount.  As long as 20 percent is held back from any gross settlement, the monies can flow to the claimant. When it’s finally adjusted any balance is paid back to the claimant.  Checking verification of Medicaid status of any claimant with any single state takes about 30 days.

Garretson says about 40 percent of all mesh claimants have been determined to be entitled to Medicaid so far.  Texas, Michigan and California are slow in getting claims data back to the resolution group, averaging about 250 days versus 90 days for most of the states. About 75 percent of state data are received within 45 days.   (page 19) The slower states say they are attempting to put the claims information together from several managed care organizations and other areas.  Private Lien groups such as the Rawlins Group represent many health carriers.  About 75 percent of women are covered by insurance companies.  (page 20)

 

JUDGE GOODWIN ON SOCIAL MEDIA 

Judge Goodwin said he understands that frustration that exists in each individual case, the lack of a timely resolution, the frustration of defendants and the lack of timeliness in obtaining information from the other side.  Her reinforced “it’s impossible for the entire federal judiciary to try every one of these cases,” but he was encouraged enough by what he heard this day to believe that will not be necessary. Besides, an appeal process will take years. He encouraged the clients in the courtroom today and clients everywhere to “listen to your lawyers and heed their counsel.” They are being paid to give you advice, he said.  He called the lawyers involved in this MDL some of the best in the country and he hadn’t found any doing less. Most “lived up to the standards of lawyering in the best sense.”

Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, overseeing bellwether mesh trials

Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, overseeing bellwether mesh trials

“In our culture today, news reporting and social media are very important, but importance and accuracy are not always equivalent. I would ask each of you to accurately convey to those to whom you are responsible or are engaged with regard to these matters to convey accurately what you hear, what you’ve heard.  I ask you to tell your clients, counsel, what you should tell them. What your best advice is. What your experience and your judgment and your intelligence and your education tells you is best for your clients.  And I would ask them to note, to the extent they hear what I have to say, that they should accept your reports and not always what they might hear some other place.” 

Judge Goodwin promised trials will continue as will settlements, whether or not both sides are happy or unhappy. #

LEARN MORE: 

June 2, 2015, Status Hearing before Judge Joseph Goodwin concerning pelvic mesh.

2015 1 pm Goodwin status hearing

35 Comments

  1. Jbroken says:

    What if u paid for your own insurances on surgery to implant etc. It shouldn’t be deducted from your case right. This sounds very positive this news. I can’t wait to see what all thinks of this news. God Bless an Pray

    • cece says:

      JBroken:

      If you mean if you paid for your own Private insurance it makes no difference. Private insurance also has put a lien on any settlement money you would get. I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield and they put a lien on my case with my Attorney’s office. This happened when they saw I was getting treatment with pelvic point injections and undergoing pelvic pain management. They sent me a letter asking if another party maybe liable for my problem. Of course I told them what was happening and they quickly contacted my Lawyer. Hence the lien.

      I know it does not sound fair but that is how the Law is written.

      Anyone who has filed a case may have Liens on any possible settlement first before they see a dime. Please realize that includes also the Attorney fees.

      My medical bills paid were in the $50,000 range so that is money I will never see as it will go back to the Insurance Company.

      Attorney fees as well as their expenses ( cost of obtaining your Medical records,courier costs,mailing fees, filing fees,court fees etc.) are all extras that we will have to pay first before one sees any money.

      My law firm told me a few months ago nothing was happening and things are no where near any settlement. J+J TVT-O was my implant. I had erosion and the mesh removed by Dr. Raz. God Bless him.

      • Jane Akre says:

        Does that mean you get back all that you paid to them for your coverage? Isn’t that what insurance is for?

        • cece says:

          Good point Jane .

          I have thought it unfair considering my spouse’s employer paid a good portion as did my spouse for coverage.

  2. I pray I live to see my case to be settled although I realize I’m not the only case before Judge Goodwin but still praying for a settlement .

    Sincerely,

    Linda Karen Miller

  3. anonymous says:

    that’s kind of ridiculous isn’t it that it doesn’t matter if you’re happy with your settlement or not you’re just going to have to take it seems like you’re trying to shove it down your throat here is what you get take it and leave seems like if we’re not happy with our settlement we should have our day in court after all some of us I’ve had life taken away families destroyed become permanently disabled still have surgeries to go on excetera excetera just doesn’t seem right the judge Goodwin can say here’s your settlement I don’t care if you’re happy or not just take it

  4. K says:

    Thank you, Jane!

  5. K says:

    Anyone reading this trying to decide whether to get mesh please know there is a warning in the packaging of mesh that says…

    Storage:

    Recommended storage conditions for the Gynecare TVT single use are below 25 *C or 77*F, away from moisture and direct heat. Do not use after expiry date.

    Are bodies are 98.6 and will be implanted in a body of moisture. How can this have happened? How? Why isn’t this front page of all major media? Why didn’t the Dr’s inform us of this warning on the package? Hal, how is this not enough evidence for these cases? How is this still going on? I am so upset I went through all of this and no one showed me this insert in the package. Hal, when you said a while back this wasn’t intentional I was like well maybe. This was no accident or oversight! Most grade school kids can read that warning and know it should not be implanted in a human body. Grade school children know the human body is 98.6 and loaded with moisture.

    • Jane Akre says:

      You make an excellent point… don’t use after expiration date in a cool climate with no moisture. Really?

  6. K says:

    NVM it’s there.

  7. Angry says:

    K.. I had asked the same question awhile back. Intentional would not ever come out in a trial because that would mean that the big pharm companies insurance would not pay a dime…And then it would be criminal am I correct? My feelings on this would be I would except zero but all you their asses go to prison ( I am kind of getting used to having nothing) plus my life as I once knew it has been taken away. If you can not stand up to the plate and accept responsibility for your actions and treat these women right by taking into consideration what the rest of ones life living in off the chart pain ,along with all of the past and future losses. We are all fed up ! It may be easy for the judge to say just accept what is offered and see you around, your lawyers are the best of the best and if you are told to just take what ever is offered knowing damn right well, most of us have serious medical bills, medication most likely for the rest of our life, repay insurance even at a percentage, if you filed bankruptcy that will be reopened, and yes there is a good chance you will have to repay your creditors plus lawyers fees for opening it up….Lawyers fees for fighting this mess that has been jammed down our throats and hearts. I personally would have no problem seeing the hammer come down on each and every one of these companies. If an eye for an eye still was part of our world, this would never have happened. The way our legal system is, these manufactures know they have the money and know their vacations and life style will always be there, so why be concerned destroying tens of thousands quality of life. Its disgusting!

  8. I was told I would receive settlement notification in the Spring 2015, Spring has come and gone, no settlement sent. Lawyer has not heard a word. I wonder if they are just collecting interest on the money and holding off sending it for as long as they can!

    • Angela says:

      Patricia, what manufacturer is your suit against? I have heard absolutely nothing from my lawyer. Every time I contact his office all i get is theres nothing new. They didnt even know some of the manufacturers have offered settlements already. I have no idea how to see when or where my case is or any information regarding it. Just keep getting the usual we are working on it from my lawyer. I really would like to know what this means as far as my case is considered. I am in the 2326 mdl. If anyone can point me in the right direction, Or explain any of this to me, i would greatly appreciate it.. Im preparing for revision number 7 coming up very soon, and i am beyond distirbed with the new information about the toxins this mesh is producing in my body. I am scared and i just dont know what to do anymore…

  9. msm says:

    About the lien and subrogation issues:

    “Medicare is entitled to reimbursement for all injury related conditional payments made from date of injury to date of settlement, period.” This is directly from the Garretson Resolution Group website.

    My question is, even though a settlement agreement has been reached but has not been signed and sealed, is the medical cost meter still running, so to speak? Will settlements be delayed if the plaintiff is currently or likely to undergo further treatment in the near future?

    Fortunately, negotiations by the firm hired by the court to resolve liens tend to lower the amount of reimbursement to a very small percentage of the total amount owed. Also, Medicare and Medicaid pay only a tiny percentage of the charged amount to the provider. Private insurance may be different and some states have laws that can keep you from having to re-pay your insurance plan. Fortunately, I haven’t read anything allowing medical facilities to recover what they have written off or discounted for the treatment they provided (which is usually substantial).

    You can find a lot of answers here directly from the group currently responsible for negotiating liens and delivered the report in Judge Goodwin in the status hearing.

    http://www.garretsongroup.com/claimant-education-library-mass-tort

    Medicare can require reimbursement if the injured party recovers anything from “the party RESPONSIBLE for your injury”. Settlement agreements always have the clause that there is no admission of any liability. It would seem to me, that since there is no liability or responsibility assigned for the injury in a settlement, then how can a lien be placed on a settlement? Nobody is admitting responsibility for the injury. If a lien is paid, then is that, in itself, an admission of causation of the injury?

    Curious…..I’m sure there’s some legalese to explain it…. Hal, where are you? I miss your explanations.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      The short answer is “Yes,” if they pay you anything for your claim, then the lien attaches. The language in the release about not admitting fault does not nullify a lien.

      To your other question, the short answer is “No,” the lien has not yet been “cut off” due to an impending settlement. The lien will only cut off when the settlement is confirmed — which I guess will be whenever 90% of the people approve it?

      The Garretson Group is VERY good at what they do. We use them all the time. They are going to be looking out for the claimants’ best interests because they get paid to save people money.

      Normally, in an individual case, Garretson gets a percentage of the amount they save a plaintiff. I am not sure how they are getting paid in a situation like this.

      • msm says:

        Thanks, Hal. I knew you’d have the answers. I’m glad to know that Garretson is paid based on the amount saved. I would assume that might be a percentage of the discount they negotiate with the lien holder? I wonder about the “cut off” since the grapevine has it that some have received checks while others haven’t received any paperwork in the AMS settlement. I’m not sure how they can determine if 90% have approved. Is it a polling of the attorney’s involved or a sampling of the plaintiffs? Not that it really matters. Thanks again.

      • unmeshme says:

        Hal,

        Can you explain what Lori Cohen meant at June 2 conference ? She said progress was coming along on Bard 200 and Bard 300 cases, then she said the following words:

        “We’ve also had some continued discussions on alternative resolution as a parallel other tract with various counsel”

        What are alternative resolutions?

  10. BrownGraeve says:

    Dear, So Call Doctors!!!!!

    I had a surgery that took place 2013 and I trusted the doctor I went to, but that was a big mistake on my part. What you do to people is not right what so ever, but we all know that most doctors don’t care about there patients lives they care about making money and money only…..I myself feel sorry for you guys/woman because one day you will need a doctor yourself and they may end up making a mistake on your life and then try to cover that up and you will know how some of us feel and what we go through on day to day bases……

  11. Anonymous says:

    I believe we should not be demanding money we should be demanding prison time for the manufacturers. prison time for the CEOs is the only way to stop this from happening again to someone we love.

    NO MONEY JUST PRISON and bankruptcy for the manufacturers

    • Jane Akre says:

      This would have to be a criminal action. Right now it is civil only, in other words, monetary damages.

    • Leah says:

      I vote for that too because the money less all the fees and expenses and subrogation to the insurance companies and then taxes will leave nothing anyway –and they never should have used a material which the supplier in many cases said “not to be used for implantable medical devices “

  12. Dawn says:

    They should pay all leins, extra fees, lawyers fees and THEN OUR SETTLEMENT. I see no reason my lawyer should get 33% for writing me a few letters, filing some forms and emailing me. The big companies did the main work. The spin off lawerys don’t deserve 33%. They should make a flat fee for each lawery in each class. ( I am class 4) the women are the ones that suffered. Going from active runners to laying around with everyone telling us it was in our heads because sonograms weren’t showing anything. I went from a married triathlete with a nice figure to a fat 180 pound woman in the middle of a divorce. This took everything from me. I look like I’m pregnant, swollen and sick feeling all the time. Have four children that I disappoint because I just can’t do things anymore. I’m thankful my story isn’t near as bad as some I’ve heard. Need more surgeries but I’m too scared to. More and more things going wrong all the time. Our lives will near be the same. I’ve been a home maker for 22 years. Now I have no husband, no income and no way to go out and work. Employers tend to fown on you calling in sick all the time or being in the restroom all the time. But we are suppose to survive on 250k? ( just the rumors I’ve heard for the class 4) this is so not right!!

  13. Mesh Nightmare says:

    “Settlements, when they occur, are the result of good faith negotiations between two sides to a dispute. And if both sides are happy or both sides are unhappy, but nevertheless in agreement, that is the end of the process.”

    • Jane Akre says:

      They say a good settlement/negotiation leaves both sides unhappy. It’s the end of the document you sign says its the end… ie no further litigation can be commenced on the same issue… but it’s all in the language of the settlement agreement you sign. Please read it carefully. The written word prevails, not what you are told.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Who makes the decision to bring criminal charges to the manufactures?

  15. Jose says:

    How does this work for states that have made whole laws? My understanding is that funds can not be taken until the damaged party is made whole.

    Medicaid and Medicare do not fall under this, but it does for private insurance. The law was put in place to stop cases like these where medical bills could leave people with nothing after settlements.

    Anyone clear on what this means in regard to these cases?

  16. Shirley says:

    Hal – My sister settled with AMS in March (3 months ago), but has not received a dime. Her attorney says they haven’t received the money yet… Does this sound normal to you? I told her it seems like there would be some kind of time limit to when she should receive it. Sounds like someone is just holding the money… She has a lot of outstanding medical expenses, etc., and gets confused about the legal side of things. Not sure if she is being taken advantage of. Thank you

    • BrownGraeve says:

      Hi, There

      I wanted to let you know that you are being taken of advantage of and she needs to confront her attorney face to face……In other words speak up….

      • Shirley says:

        Thank you for your reply BrownGraeve. Her attorney told here that AMS is sending out chunks of money, 500 claimants at a time, then letting the claimant pool add up to another 500 or so before they send money again… Just sounds strange to me. Her documents do not specify a time-frame for receipt, but I would think something could be done, perhaps not… Was just wondering if anyone else was experiencing this.

    • mesh sufferer says:

      who is your attorney in smilar situation

  17. TLP says:

    If AMS has settled most or almost all case . Why haven’t I heard anything ? All I know is what tier I am In … When Will anything happen ? When will we settle , How long until we receive a check ? I heard it is fast !! Thanks

  18. angela says:

    Johnson an Johnson, have destroyed me.i have waited and suffered ,wondering if I will be alive to receive a settlement.already disable,now I am mainly bed ridden.i go to the doctor and that is it.life as I knew it is over,i cant walk wheel chair bound.depression cry most of the time.am beginning to wonder if I took my life would it take care of the pain .an the loss I have suffered.i need to be taken care of.and cant afford meds I need or anything.on 733,00 per month.and if I were to get a settlement a trustee would decide how I got money,because I get ssi..I am not mentaly disable.i see animals treated better.johnson an Johnson ,lost papers.and caused me to loose a life I was happy with.they don’t wont to make our life better not willing to settle they clearly don’t care.the wont to keep there money and there life .how do they have the right to destroy ours and not pay for it?

  19. yolanda m. says:

    I hate to say it but it looks like the judge has been ruling in favor of the manufacturers. I’ve been waiting for two years and no news. The attorneys I chose may just not be that good.

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