Update on Status Conference in West Virginia on Pelvic Mesh Litigation

Jane Akre
November 23, 2015
Prolene Mesh

Prolene Mesh

MND, Nov. 23, 2015 ~ A status conference took place Wednesday, November 18 and Thursday, 19 in Charleston, WV concerning the progress made on pelvic mesh litigation.

At last count there are 85,000 cases filed in this one federal court before Judge Joseph Goodwin. Pelvic mesh cases were consolidated there in January 2012 in multidistrict litigation (MDL) where cases of a similar nature are put into one court for consistency in rulings.

No one had any idea when the MDL was created that it would swell to this number, the largest number of cases ever filed in a single MDL.

The conferences are scheduled to update Judge Goodwin on the progress being made, or in the case of most of 2015, the lack of progress being made in this litigation. Both sides tell Judge Goodwin about the difficulties they are having in reaching settlements and give him enough information to know what direction to put pressure to move things along.

Judge Joseph Goodwin

Judge Joseph Goodwin

Representatives of six of the seven mesh manufacturers were requested to be there. Unlike a telephone conference, Judge Goodwin can make points emphatically in person to both sides.

In this case, the Court was pleased some defendants were getting cases resolved, such as American Medical Systems (AMS) and he emphasized more manufacturers need to do so.

According to one source close to the proceedings, Judge Goodwin said there is so much posturing by all sides this is taking too long as he was hoping these cases would be resolved by now.

Not every case has value or the values sought by Plaintiffs but regardless, most need to be taken seriously. The coming year will be very, very active in litigation, he promised saying he’s very serious about giving people their day in court.

The following day, Friday, November 20, Judge Goodwin in pretrial orders (PTO) #205 and #206 in the Ethicon MDL, proposed a schedule of deadlines for its “Wave” of cases readying them for trial. Wave 1 and Wave 2 each contain 200 cases.

See PTO #206 here. See PTO #205 here which refers to Wave 1 cases specified in PTO #195 here.

Many cases will be sent back to other federal courts in the states from where they came. Already set for 2016 is the April 11th trial of 39 Plaintiffs with cases filed against Ethicon will be heard in Mullins et al 2:12-cv-02952,

These women were implanted with the same mesh, TVT (transvaginal tape), to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The physicians vary among the Plaintiffs but all of the surgeries were performed in West Virginia over a 12-year-period of time and each woman is a resident of the state.

There were no other orders issued to any of the other six mesh manufacturers, other than Ethicon, after the status hearing. #

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