Caldera Denied Settlement and Quick Exit to Pelvic Mesh Litigation

Jane Akre
July 26, 2016
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Mesh Medical Device News Desk, July 26, 2016 ~ Late Tuesday morning, the Judge overseeing a proposed settlement involving Caldera Medical denied the company claim it is insolvent and only has pennies to settle with women injured by its pelvic mesh.

That means Caldera Medical must face hundreds of defective product pelvic mesh cases filed in a Los Angeles court or  declare bankruptcy.

"The decision prevents a company still selling defective mesh from doing so and to get out of litigation for peanuts," said attorney Lee Balefsky of Kline & Specter to MND. The law firm is one that had argued against the settlement  before Judge Wilson.

California based- Caldera Medical  announced it was insolvent last February and had about $25 million in insurance coverage (Federal Insurance, a subsidiary of Chubb) remaining to settle defective mesh claims by 2,100 women.  There would be no opt out, according to the company.

Caldera claimed the ongoing litigation had exhausted half of the $25 million and to continue would mean the claimants would receive nothing, according to the May 16th Joint Motion for Final Settlement and Approval of Class Certification.

Last June, the company sought final approval of its proposed settlement before Judge Stephen v. Wilson U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California. Here is a background story. An estimated 46 women filed objections to the settlement including "Samantha" who filed a story with MND here.

Kline & Specter represented 36 of those women.

In today's decision in Federal Insurance Co V. Caldera Medical, Judge Wilson denied the motion for final settlement approval and class certification and denied a motion for attorneys' fees as moot. There is no "definitely ascertained" limited fund he writes that has been placed into the settlement sum.

Additionally, "Given that Caldera remains a solvent, operational business, without evidence regarding Caldera's potential liquidated value, it is not clear that the Policies are the only available funds to contribute to the settlement. "

At the time it announced its insolvency, Caldera Medical said it had signed an agreement with IVUmed
to have its pelvic mesh implanted in women in third would countries and had committed $1 million to that effort.  See the background story here.  

In June of last year, Caldera Medical Introduced the Vertessa Lite, a pelvic mesh abdominally placed and introduced through the Food and Drug Administration's 510(k) approval process. See the MND story here.

Caldera makes the T-Sling®, Desara®, Ascend®, Hydrix®, and POPmesh®.

Judge William F. Highberger is overseeing a state multidistrict litigation in the Superior Court of the State of California (JCCP No. 4733), where hundreds of product liability cases are filed against the major mesh manufacturers.   ##

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