Sanchez v. Boston Scientific Pelvic Mesh Case Settles Before Closing Arguments

Jane Akre
May 11, 2015
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Mesh News Desk has confirmed that the federal bellwether pelvic mesh trial of Sanchez v. Boston Scientific settled Monday morning just before the Los Angeles jury heard closing arguments.

The defective product case began one week ago and represented the sixth trial facing the Massachusetts-based manufacturer of pelvic mesh implants.

Monday, May 11, a Delaware court began hearing the defective mesh case of Barba v. Boston Scientific over its Advantage Fit mesh sling. See story on Mesh News Desk here.

An offer to settle avoids a multi-million dollar jury award, a jury verdict that the products are defectively designed, the company was negligent and the instructions for use were inadequate.

While the terms of a settlement are never disclosed, Boston Scientific suffered the largest jury award so far among all mesh litigation - $73 million - in the September case of Martha Salazar. The jury also found Boston Scientific was "grossly negligent" and included $50 million in punitive damages.

Last November, the company lost two separate federal trials alleging the company made defective pelvic mesh - one in West Virginia where jurors delivered an $18.5 million verdict to four plaintiffs plus an additional $1 million in punitive damages. The jurors there too concluded the company acted with "gross negligence."

In a Miami federal court, four women injured by the company's Pinnacle mesh, were collectively awarded $26.7 million.

The story filed earlier today continues here:

The trial of Roseanne Sanchez v. Boston Scientific was in its sixth day today in a Los Angeles courtroom (Sanchez v. Boston Scientific 2:12-cv-05762). The bellwether case was remanded back to the Central District of California from West Virginia where the company is facing nearly 17,000 pelvic mesh cases.

Jim M. Perdue, Perdue & Kidd

Jim M. Perdue, Perdue & Kidd

During opening arguments May 5, Sanchez’ attorney Jim Perdue told the jury that Ms. Sanchez had no idea the company had not safety tested the meshes she had received - a Pinnacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit (to treat pelvic organ prolapse) and the Advantage Transvaginal Mid-Urethral Sling System (to treat incontinence).

Law 360 reports the Pinnacle Sanchez received was made of a different formula of polypropylene and was a different shape than the previous models of Pinnacle.

“She had no idea that no human testing had been done,” said Jim M. Purdue Jr. of Purdue and Kidd LLP. “The choices that Boston Scientific made are what brought us here today.”

Perdue said the company use polypropylene mesh despite a material warning it was not to be used for permanently implanted medical devices, and the company had no “exit strategy” in case there was a problem. In other words, the procedure was irreversible.

As a result, Ms. Sanchez has experienced pain, bleeding and infections among other complications, according to her complaint.

Pinnacle mesh kit

Pinnacle mesh kit

The plaintiffs claim the Pinnacle and Advantage are defective, a ruling that has already been issued by another jury in a federal trial in Miami last November. (See Eghnayem case here).

An attorney for Boston Scientific, Robert Adams of Shook Hardy & Bacon, told jurors Ms. Sanchez is a nurse to patients undergoing chemotherapy and understands well the informed consent conversation. She also had medical problems before her mesh implants, he said.

The Pinnacle is no longer on the market. The Advantage and Advantage Fit, a newer version, remain on the market.

Judge John H. Walter ordered a shortened proceeding of five days. Under the federal multidistrict litigation overseen by Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston, proceedings had already been shortened to two weeks. The Sanchez case was transferred to the Central District of California February 23rd.

Judge Walter is known to run a tight ship and according to this online site, The Robing Room, where judges are judged, there are many complaints about The Honorable John F. Walter.

Dr. Kerri Wiltchik, Ob-Gyn implanting doc

Dr. Kerri Wiltchik, Ob-Gyn implanting doc

In an April 22 filing, both sides disputed jury instructions that would apportion fault to her implanting doctor, Dr. Kerri Wiltchik. Boston Scientific was considering presenting evidence that the surgeon was negligent.

As of this date, there are 16,753 cases consolidated in federal court in Charleston, WV in multidistrict litigation and 100,000 cases filed against seven mesh makers. #

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