While opening arguments were set to be heard and a jury had been selected comes word that the transvaginal mesh product liability lawsuit filed against manufacturer C.R. Bard has settled. That news was confirmed by sources both inside and outside the courtroom.
Here is the story from Monday, day one of jury selection here.
The case did not meet Tuesday, possibly to discuss the potential settlement discussionis.
Settlement amounts are generally not disclosed and the defendant does not admit liability as a condition of settlement. The plaintiff typically signs a confidential agreement as part of the settlement agreement.
Wanda Queen was severely injured, as are all of the women represented by the bellwether trials. The first plaintiff, Donna Cisson, was awarded $2 million in damages by a jury August 15. That included a $1.75 million dollar award in punitive damages. The Cisson case was the first bellwether trial, design to test legal theories and get some sense of how juries will react to both sides. Successive losses and a defendant may decide through a risk/benefit analysis it is advantageous to offer a settlement.
Here is the Wanda Queen complaint. Queen Document 1 Complaint
A settlement will not be appealed and has the advantage of ending litigation for the plaintiff.
A woman’s relative value in terms of future earnings will always be calculated into a settlement. A younger person, nonsmoker, with years ahead of productive earnings will be considered, generally lead to a larger settlement amount than an elderly person who is not gainfully employed, no matter how valuable they are to you as a loved family member.
No matter what the amount of money, most women tell MDND they wish they could be made whole and no amount of money will accomplish that.
A settlement also avoids the stigma of punitive damages to a company. Punitive awards are intended to punish a company for wrongdoing and to send a message that discourages future corporate misdeeds.
As in these cases, the state statutes where the implantation occurred dictates the settlement. In the Cisson case, Georgia, her home state, required 75% of punitive damages be diverted to the state general fund minus legal expenses and whatever the judge deems appropriate.
See the American Tort Reform Association for limitations to recovery in your state here.
Judge Joseph R. Goodwin has set a strict schedule for these bellwether cases and predicted the Queen case would take nine days. Two more cases are scheduled to be heard:
Linda and Ronald Rizzo, et al. v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:10-cv-01224
Carolyn Jones v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:11-cv-00114