Fed Up? Want to talk To MDL Panel? Here's How!

Jane Akre
December 4, 2018

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, December 4, 2018~ As regular readers of Mesh News Desk understand, and as you've experienced in your own litigation, lawyers representing the injured have, in many cases, ended up with more money than the injured! This is all too common an occurrence.

Ultimately, you will live with the after-effects of the medical device that may have changed your life!! The lawyers will not.

How has the MDL (multidistrict litigation) system worked for you?


Pelvic mesh became the second largest mass tort ever in history behind asbestos. At one time there were more than 104-thousand defective product cases against seven mesh makers filed before Judge Joseph Goodwin, who oversees federal court in Charleston, WV. While many of you blame him for not doing more, his job is basically to rule on the motions that come before him.

The law firms that jumped into pelvic mesh litigation were supposed to work for you. Some worked hard. Others did not. There were bellwether cases before Judge Goodwin that were supposed to set the relative value of these injury cases, but in some cases, the manufacturers stood firm that they would not offer mass settlements. Even though the average outcome of a jury trial is about $9 million, massive numbers of cases just settled as law firms accepted what was offered, then, as Mesh News Desk has heard repeatedly, threatened their clients to take settlements or else get nothing.

What then? What do you do with a $40,000 settlement before legal fees are taken out? Or even less in many circumstances?


Thousands of women have been hurt by the manufacturers then the system that let their lawyers keep them in the dark, then threaten them to take small settlements. (In fairness, some early cases did settle for more money, even with just mesh in place).


Elizabeth Burch, Professor U GA Law School

Elizabeth Burch, U of Georgia law professor is working with a statistician to present to judges and policymakers the procedural justice issues that litigants faced in this mass tort. They will have to take note! Your input into the article through this survey will go to each judge who has been involved with these MDL proceedings. How do we know she will be heard?

As Professor Burch says, "In the past, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has asked me to present at the annual transferee judges conference (before 150 of the judges who handle MDLs) on a panel entitled “What’s Wrong with MDLs?” Judges have also invited me to present on MDL procedure at their district-level annual retreats. This has given me an opportunity to get to know some of the judges who handle these proceedings. In addition, I’ve taught short courses on Multidistrict Litigation: Law, Practice, and Strategy with a sitting transferee judge or a Panel member.

"Last year, when the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill relating to multidistrict litigation (H.R. 985), the Committee on the Judiciary asked for my analysis of the bill, which I provided. I taught at Harvard Law School in the fall of 2017, and in 2015, I received the American Law Institute’s Early Career Scholar’s Medal, which is awarded every other year to “one or two outstanding law professors whose work has the potential to influence improvements in the law.”

"Since entering the academy in 2006, I have authored over 30 law review articles, which have been cited over 790 times in books, articles, and court documents. These articles have been published by many of the nation’s top law reviews, including NYU Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Virginia Law Review, and Vanderbilt Law Review among others. I also co-author one of the leading textbooks on complex litigation, The Law of Class Actions and Other Aggregate Litigation (Foundation Press 2013) and have given over 65 lectures to a diverse array of domestic and international audiences—from law professors at workshops, symposia, and conferences, to federal judges at their judicial retreats, to lawyers and jurists at the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association, to psychologists at the International Congress on the Psychology of Law."

They will pay attention, particularly if enough people participate that it becomes too hard to ignore!


That's where you come in.

Imagine 40-thousand women weighing in on how they were injured, AND the fact that the firms never spoke with them, AND then gave themselves a blank check where they could fill in the amount, AND asked you to sign off with no amount specified, AND charged you 40% even though they promised a trial, AND then threatened to drop you if you did not sign off on what was left in your settlement after expenses and liens and insurance, AND in some cases, the firm took home more than you even though you will need medical care for the rest of your life!

Just a few thing your editor has heard time and time again (not to put words in your mouth, but that is the typical story I hear).


Unfortunately you have become an unwilling member of a club you never wanted to belong to. One of injury and harm, then insult added to your injury. Your confidentiality is assured, says Professor Burch. There are strict rules through the university process that prohibit her from disclosing the identities of any of those who chose to be involved. Instead you are assigned a participant identification code.

Professor Burch email, which is non FOIA-able is: masstortsuga@gmail.com


The Survey:

(It works best with Firefox or Explorer, but doesn’t seem to work at all with Safari).

The Website explains more:

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