Charleston, West Virginia will be the setting for a gathering of both sides involved in pelvic mesh litigation for a June 2 status conference before Judge Joseph Goodwin, and of mesh-injured women from the region who have decided to converge in a show of solidarity to bring an end to the protracted litigation.
Mesh Awareness Movement (MAM) conference organizer, Lisa Mason says it's important if you are mesh-injured or the family of someone mesh-injured to show your support if you can.
" We plan on being in front of the courthouse at 9:30 am for an all day rally. I will be bringing some extra chairs, cooler of water, we have the 2ft x 6ft vinyl banner “Mesh Awareness Movement," color brochures regarding the Complications Of Mesh, some T-shirts and of course I’ll be wearing purple spirit ribbon bracelets with names of those who asked to be there in support but couldn’t make the journey. Also, we have the local TV stations and News Paper attending! We still have carpool available in some states, please let me know if you’re interested. Can’t wait to meet you there and stand together united in support."
The Mesh Awareness Movement will be handing out this brochure created by graphic artist, Candance Springer, who is hernia mesh injured.
Charleston is the location where 75,000 product liability cases have been consolidated in U.S. District Court, all part of multidistrict litigation. Pelvic mesh has been placed transvaginally to shore up sagging pelvic organs or to treat incontinence. It is still used by some doctors, though its popularity is dwindling as some doctors are being sued for medical malpractice.
Plaintiffs contend the mesh is defective, was never tested for safety before it was marketed and should be off the market. A number of juries have agreed that pelvic mesh is defective in its design.
Tuesday, June 2, Judge Goodwin, who is overseeing the cases, will hold a status conference with attorneys from both sides with the authority to discuss settlements. All seven pelvic mesh manufacturers, with the exception of Neomedic, are required to have representatives present.
Knowing the court was never established to handle this number of plaintiffs, (76,610 as of today) Judge Goodwin has repeatedly urged both sides to resolve their differences outside of the courtroom. Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon) have vowed to continue trying each product liability case trial by trial.
During a February Status Conference Transcript here, Judge Goodwin said:
"I view the more than 70,000 cases through the lens of my experience and those procedures and laws that I mentioned before. I see disputes that must each be addressed and resolved. Each case assigned to me is assigned for full pretrial development, but the Congress of the United States has only allowed 678 Article III Federal District Judges. We have a few more because of our senior judge system, but, all in all, a paltry few are available. The entire federal judiciary cannot individually develop and try 70,000 cases within the professional lifetime of anyone in this courtroom. So, we're faced with a conundrum...."
This status conference is an attempt to address this conundrum.
Judge Goodwin has pointed to American Medical Systems (AMS) as an example of a company that is ready to put litigation behind it by offering some settlements, usually averaging $40,000 for the lower tier of injury, before legal fees are paid. He predicted a rocky path for both sides if settlements were not forthcoming.
Six of the seven mesh makers have been called to the conference - Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson), Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, AMS, Coloplast and Cook Medical.
So far, plaintiff product liability trials have resulted in more than $100 million in losses for the defendant companies. #