Mesh Maker Covidien Agrees to Settle 11,000 Claims

Jane Akre
June 30, 2015
covidien and medtronic logo

Covidien will settle some of the 11,000 pelvic mesh claims it has pending in federal court, Reuters reports citing court documents.

There is no word on the amount of settlement dollars being offered and no specificity on the number of outstanding product liability claims that will be included in the settlement.

This would be the third pelvic mesh maker that has entered into settlement discussions to end a number of product liability claims naming its products. Covidien makes transvaginal mesh and bladder slings that are sold by different companies, particularly C.R. Bard.

The majority of the 100,000 pelvic mesh product liability claims remain pending, many in U.S. District Court in the So. District of WV.

Last July, Covidien announced plans to take $180 million from its third quarter profits to pay the costs associated with lawsuits. Covidien also agreed to indemnify the maker from certain claims. See the Mesh News Desk story here.

Indemnify means to compensate the party for its losses or to guarantee it will cover damages in the future. See the legal definition here.

The $180 million charge reportedly came after discussions with plaintiff attorneys, Henry Garrard and Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C.

In a a pretrial order, Judge Joseph Goodwin writes Covidien has appointed Special Master Cathy Yanni (PTO #181) to resolve the claims related to its product.

C.R. Bard is facing 11,656 product liability claims in this federal court. This is the fourth highest number of claims among seven defendant companies. See. So District of WV website here.

Covidien History

Anti Mesh rally in WV federal court.

Anti Mesh rally in WV federal court.

Covidien was born of the business conglomerate Tyco International before being sold to Medtronic Inc. for $43 billion in a deal that merged two of the world’s largest implant and medical supply companies.

Minneapolis-based Medtronic then moved its base to Dublin where a more favorable tax burden is found, reports Marketwatch however technically Covidien is run from Mansfield, Mass.

Judge Goodwin presides over 75,000 cases against seven mesh manufacturers including American Medical Systems, C.R. Bard, Ethicon (J&J) Boston Scientific, Coloplast, Cook Medical and Neomedic. Covidien is not named as a defendant but is named in some cases as a co-defendant (See Carolyn Jones 2:11-cv-00114, for supplying mesh to C.R. Bard).

In the Jones case, C.R. Bard is named as a defendant along with Covidien Inc. D/B/A Sofradim Production, a Delaware corporation with business located in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Bard and Covidien designed, manufactured, marketed, packaged, labeled and sold the product. In her case (Jones) the mesh was the Avaulta Synthetic Support System. Bard and Covidien also make Avaulta Solo and Avaulta Plus meshes used to “restore normal vaginal structure after a pelvic organ prolapse.”

Settlements So Far

The Covidien announcement is the third mesh maker to announce mass settlements to the many pending plaintiffs, women injured by the polypropylene mesh implants. So far American Medical Systems (Endo) has agreed to set aside $1.6 billion to settle about 40,000 claims. Recently, Boston Scientific announced it planned to settle some of its pending transvaginal mesh claims.

Johnson & Johnson has settled individual claims either preceding or during litigation (See Budke case here) but otherwise has announced no settlement plans. Cook, Neomedic, Coloplast have not offered any settlements to women.

Judging from the SEC filings of the various companies involved there are in excess of 100,000 pelvic mesh product liability claims globally. #


Covidien SEC Report, July 11,2014

So District of WV, PTO # 182 (2:10-md-2187, Bard MDL filing number)

So District of WV PTO #181- Entered June 23, 2015

Medtronic SEC Report, June 23, 2015 - on indemnification

PTO #180 Qualified Settlement Fund, entered June 23, 2015

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