Most do not know what their future holds and how much money they can expect from a pelvic mesh settlement. When you signed with your law firm you signed a retainer agreement. That may hold the clue to how much the firm plans to take.
Are they taking 40% for their efforts, even a settlement. Is there a lesser amount the law firm will take if you were never worked up for trial?
Why is the settlement taking so long? Unfortunately, the mesh makers have had a heavy hand in the final settlements. They are not quick to offer up adequate monies, quite the opposite. There has been a slow response to settlement demands. And lien resolution companies must trudge through many cases to resolve any liens before monies can be issued.
This is done en masse, not on an individual basis. That at least partially explains why things take so long.
Image: Wiki Commons, Cynthia Magana
Monheit: "In an ideal world, I wish we could turn back time and explain this litigation so you would have realistic expectations. Whatever you were told in the beginning, every mass tort contains some realities. For example, at least one-hundred thousand women were injured by pelvic mesh – that is a fact. Some law firms signed up thousands of cases, some just a few. Some may have intended to settle those cases and perhaps never take one to trial. Others planned to select a few for trial as “bellwether” cases to help determine or estimate of their worth for settlement purposes.
My frustration is there are hundreds of women in the same boat saying, “I don’t want to settle.”
Monheit: “I’m afraid most of them will end up as dismissed cases.
"It is unlikely you will find another attorney as rarely will an attorney want to represent someone who already rejected a settlement. And you likely can’t spend a couple hundred thousand to go forward alone. What that results is injustice upon injustice. Thus, going it alone is not much of an option."
Monheit: “Most firms have within their fee agreement the right to withdraw from a case, and thus have informed clients of this possibility. Some might argue this is unfair to clients, others might even argue it is not ethical."
"However, the motion to withdraw would be approved by the Court, so it is unlikely that this will result in any ethical issue for the lawyers seeking to withdraw from the case."
Monheit: "Yes, Your story deserves to be heard. Often the other women who have gone to court have received favorable awards, even though they will have to wait years to see any money as the appellate process plays out.
"But let’s look at the numbers.
"If all of these cases actually went to trial, or consider even 30,000 cases, (there are many more) and you gave 10 judges 3-thousand cases each, if those judges could try six cases a year, it would take those ten judges 500 years to get through! You can see the impossibility of having each case litigated.
"Your attorney may advise you to settle your case since there are so few they can take forward to litigate.
"It is highly unlikely that new firm would want to step into a case where you have indicated you would not settle.
"We have limited time in life and must choose our battles carefully. I urge you to consider this for yourself as well.
"Ask yourself - What is your goal? If the goal is to be part of a movement that in the aggregate is holding the defendants accountable, then you are likely accomplishing that with your claim. If your goal is to receive what feels like full compensation for your injuries, then I doubt it is likely you will achieve that goal."
Monheit: "Manufacturers want to know that they are obtaining a certain degree of resolution, or otherwise may as well keep paying their attorneys to defend the cases.
"To achieve these percentages, in order then to help the vast majority of their clients who may want to settle, even if not for as much as they would like, the attorneys may need to withdraw from most cases where clients do not want to settle.
"Put another way, imagine if you are the client who wants to settle. Your lawyer may not be able to settle your case because of clients who insist on going to trial.
"Coming back to the issue of finding other counsel, you are likely to encounter the same issues. These firms you are reaching out to are likely to already have other clients. Thus, it is not likely that this lawyer would be willing take on a client who has already demonstrated an unwillingness to settle their claim, as the law firm does not want to jeopardize the ability to settle the claims of clients that they already represent and who have expressed a willingness to settle their claims."
Monheit: "While I admire and honor her determination to see this through, my common sense tells me that she is facing a battle that is almost meaningless to the mesh makers and their team of high powered attorneys and difficult for her.
"It is distressing to know that this world has wrongs that at least in our time or in ways we can see don't make sense and don't seem to be righted. They are like weeds that keep growing. They are wicked who prosper and may be cut down later, but often not in our time. The underlying sense or purpose of this is simply not revealed to us for now.
"For each injured mesh victim, your story deserves to see the light of day, but I think that there are easier ways to tell your story about any mesh maker than putting yourself through a Pro Se litigation process.
Monheit: "Defendant manufacturers are corporations and as such do not have feelings. Their attorneys will get paid win or lose. They want to win as much as you do. They have more resources than you do. The company likely sees this as a cost of doing business. Companies don't have souls. They make money. They don't apologize.
"Your story is important and deserves to be told. Every mesh story is tragic and deserves to be told. Thousands of them! The question for me is do you get the most benefit and do the most good in this Pro Se fight, or is there a better use of your time and energy to tell your story and impact the world and your life going forward in a positive manner."
Monheit: "Lawsuits are a part of the picture, as in the aggregate they create a significant financial penalty on the manufacturer. But a Pro Se plaintiff has little chance of moving the company into action.
"Things we can do as individuals include the following: get active in the political process, organize lobby days, petition Congress, run for office, find a media outlet to target, march on insurance companies, organize boycotts, change the laws. These are all places where energy could be focused so we can change the law and insist on medical coverage for harm from devices, paid for by device manufacturers, since they got you here in this difficult situation in the first place.
"As the laws stand now, there is not enough regulation of these devices and we need people to continue to speak out."