Judge Goodwin Calls for Pelvic Mesh Settlements as Lawyers Gather in WV

Jane Akre
February 4, 2015
Judge Goodwin 300 from WV Daily Record

Judge Joseph Goodwin has a problem.

With more than 72,000 federal cases filed in his court, consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL), he knows there is not enough time for these plaintiffs to ever see justice.

The MDL was never intended to deal with a class of plaintiffs this large. So what to do?

Judge Goodwin has called all lawyers to Charleston, WV, the federal court where thousands of cases are consolidated. February 5, and 6, will be the judicial version of a “come to Jesus” session to reach some reasonable settlements and bring justice for the thousands of waiting women and do it now!

Woman are sick and need immediate financial help for revision surgeries, to save their homes and what little they have left after being debilitated by pelvic mesh implants. Finally - do the right thing, he will suggest, instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting a losing battle in court.

With $100 million in jury awards so far for the plaintiffs, the mesh manufacturers are calculating the risk/benefit analysis for the good of the company.

Judge Goodwin had intended these sessions to take place in January but updated the order here.

Defendant Representatives

Charleston, WV federal courthouse

Charleston, WV federal courthouse

Called to the court are the “defendant client representative(s) with full authority to make all decisions” related to each of the MDLs. He will meet privately with defendant client representatives as well as the plaintiffs’ representatives.

On Friday, attorneys for both sides of each MDL will be required to attend “breakout sessions” to further consult and come to some consensus.

Will the defendants be willing to negotiate or will they instead move to push Judge Goodwin to step down from this litigation as some have suggested? How do stockholders feel about the ongoing litigation with unfavorable outcomes for defendant companies – C.R. Bard, Ethicon (J&J), Boston Scientific, Covidien, Cook and Coloplast?

The judge let his feeling be known last December at a hearing in Charleston.

“I can’t imagine a corporation facing potentially billions of dollars in verdicts wouldn’t find it advisable to try to achieve a settlement for a much lesser sum,” said Judge Goodwin. “I base that billions of dollars of business on some of the rather large verdicts that we’ve had,” reports Bloomberg.

And there have been large settlements - $73 million in damages to one Texas woman implanted with a Boston Scientific mesh (later reduced to $34.9 million); $3.27 to a woman who had a J&J mesh; $26.7 million to four women whose cases were consolidated in a Miami federal trial against Boston Scientific. $18.5 million to four plaintiffs in Charleston also in December of last year. A few of these cases could cause a company to go bankrupt, comments a product liability law professor Carl Tobias to Bloomberg.

BTW- no amount of money will ever make a person whole who is permanently damaged from pelvic or hernia mesh. There is no price that can be put on health.

Some settlements are beginning to occur. Endo agreed to $1.3 billion to resolve most of its case; Bard offered $21 million to settle 500 lawsuits.

The company notes it is facing “significant financial exposure” with the remaining claims. #

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