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Clear the Decks – Judge Goodwin Pushes 23K Pelvic Mesh Cases to Conclusion!

Judge Joseph Goodwin

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, February 5, 2018 ~ Its time to clear the decks of the MDL and Judge Goodwin’s orders show he has run out of patience after six years of pelvic mesh litigation that continues to linger in his federal courtroom. 

Be ready to try your cases by this fall, his new orders say! 

There is a clear sense of urgency and impatience in the new orders issued by Judge Joseph Goodwin who is overseeing in excess of 104,000 pelvic mesh cases filed in his Charleston, WV district court.

Bryd federal courthouse, Charleston, WV

Judge Goodwin announced at this time last year that it was time to clear the decks of this MDL, multidistrict litigation, which was created in January 20112 by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

It’s not supposed to go on forever. An MDL is supposed to ease pre-trial proceedings so plaintiffs can have a speedy resolution of their case. In the few bellwether trials, the relative value of a case is supposed to be established.

That hasn’t happened so now its time and the federal judge is giving both sides a strong shove.

The four orders affect 23,202 pelvic mesh cases filed by women implanted with polypropylene mesh to treat incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

“These orders are not good for either side,” commented someone with knowledge of the court.

In four of the largest mesh maker actions, thousands of cases have been put into “Waves” or a groupings for pre-trial proceedings.  Once discovery is completed they can be transferred to a federal court of proper venue or remanded back to the court from which it was transferred so they can be tried.

The four include Boston Scientific, American Medical Systems, Bard and Ethicon.

What’s unclear is how cases future pelvic mesh product liability cases will be handled. Those meshes that remain on the market are still being used by medical societies and called the “gold standard” of care.

 

ETHICON (Johnson & Johnson)

Ethicon– Wave 8 is created in Pretrial order #280 for 13,200 Ethicon cases! Both sides must be ready for trial this fall!  Both sides will meet September 3, 2018 to submit joint venue recommendations, where the trial will take place. Judge Goodwin will set the trial dates.

Cases can transfer out of West Virginia and into a state venue, where it was originally filed or New Jersey where J&J calls home.

Cases in the process of settling may be removed from the list and settled and women with meshes from more than one manufacturer may be relieved of some of the deadlines in that case.

Ethicon has 39,350 cases filed in the MDL  with 12,716 listed as closed. That means it has the smallest percentage of closed or resolved pelvic mesh cases.

C.R. BARD

C.R. Bard – Must have its cases ready for trial by the end of October and like Ethicon it is limited as to the number of experts one may call. Treating physician depositions are limited to 4 and depositions must take no longer than three hours.  Requests for production of documents is limited to ten.  Wave 7 will be the final Wave of the Bard cases and includes 2,876 plaintiffs!

At this time Bard has 15,548 cases filed with 11,047 listed as closed.

AMS

AMS American Medical Systems (now owned by Endo) has never had a trial so little discovery exists.  That has not stopped Judge Goodwin for setting Wave 3 of AMS cases, entered as Pretrial order #249 January 30, 2018.   October 26 2018 is the deadline to complete expert motions and both sides should be ready to go to trail. The venues will be decided by September 3, 2018 and 952 women are affected.  AMS currently has 21,165 cases filed in the MDL with 19,524 listed as closed.

In its settlement documents, AMS requires lawyers to agree not to bring any more cases against the manufacturer. See the AMS Master Settlement here.

Complicating matters, Endo International Plc is facing nightmares of debt and falling generic medicine prices and its opioid painkiller Opana, is the focus of federal litigation. Its stock is perilously low and there is speculation of bankruptcy.  As of November, the company agreed to pay $3.5 billion to handle its 46,000 mesh lawsuits but the dollars may not be enough.

Last August, AMS agreed to pay $775 million to close out outstanding pelvic mesh claims in the U.S. and internationally.

BOSTON SCIENTIFIC 

Boston Scientific Wave 4 will be formed and ready for trial also at the end of October. 6,174 women fall under this order.

Coloplast Waves 1,2, and 3 are awaiting an update as to which have not been resolved or dismissed.

Cook stopped having cases referred into the West Virginia MDL last September. There are 632 cases filed in the Cook product liability litigation and 137 filed in Neomedic which appear to be resolving since they are talking about dividing common benefit dollars and no discussion of trials.

 

LEARN MORE: 

U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia
https://www.wvsd.uscourts.gov/

 AMS Master Settlement, Freese & Goss 2013
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1100962/000110096213000038/ex10144meshsettlementagree.htm’

33 Comments

  1. Lynn says:

    First, I must admit I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the legal issues if the MDL. Both implantations that I had were abdominal. Therefore, even though I found representation, I believed my issues were not being handled by the MDL. I recently had correspondence that made it more clear that my issues (case) was in fact slipped into the larger venue even though my experience didn’t match the “transvaginal” description of placement. Not a problem for me. However, I now feel I need to understand the way all of this plays out in MDL, I understand I now have the privilege of Master judge assignment.
    In reading the above article, I am left with some vague confusion. I understand that the judge is applying pressure to all parties to begin moving the process along. It’s not clear to me from the article – just who or how many cases go to trial rather than receive an offer of settlement. There doesn’t appear to be in this article any reference to settlement. The article leaves me with confusion related to who goes to trial. It reads as though every case goes to trial following the bell weather precedent established by the bell weather. This cannot be correct. I get that following discovery cases that are applicable may be directed to other courts for further process. Each individually depending on a number of facts or previously established benchmarks. This on its own right clears out Judge Goodwin’s court of a sizable number of cases. Those cases that are referred back to home states or otherwise described may then be delayed for any number of reasons but will according to Judge Goodwin’s calendar no longer under his oversight.
    I think my confusion comes on that, the article throws a lot of numbers around and dates for process but leaves out any real description for us as readers the salient information needed to understand how all of the above affects our cases in general or specific reference to cases that are not in the larger bin for each manufacturer.
    The most I can glean – is that Judge Goodwin is becoming impatient. The cases are being processed in waves of numerical description and assigned to each of four manufactures. As well as, done smaller venues of lesser numbers claiming injury from the polypropylene mesh. There are some references to a time frame for each manufacturer / this too is a vague piece of process that is difficult to make clear related to time. place and manufacturers.
    Overall, the article gives a heads up in general. But otherwise says very little in the way of presenting how all this will go forward.
    I’m always left wondering what will happen as new victims come forward as this mass debacle runs its course to finishing. As most of us know symptoms can appear at any time in experience any one implanted with this garbage. The legal references make it seem that once they finish with the 104,000 injured currently identified that there will be no more involvement vis s vis mesh, manufacturers and the injured. That is impossible to imagine. There has to be a train of injured that follows us just as a matter of common sense. Especially, since the MDs and AUGS continue to advertise how safe and successful mesh is as a repair venue for POP and SUI.
    It’s dufficult to understand whether the author had little information or was intentionally vague. I have to go back and pay more attention to who wrote this.
    Please accept my apology for the length of this. I’m thinking about how I don’t understand as I write.
    If anyone can explain – what I’m missing in this read, please help me. As I said above – haven’t been paying attention until I recently found out that the MDL is applicable to my case.
    Thanks for your patience.🌹

    • Jane Akre says:

      I’m sorry I’m not a lawyer to inform you further. I will try to get some comment from lawyers involved in the MDL to see how this shakes out. It’s sort of like setting off a bomb telling lawyers, some of who have never taken a mesh case to trial, to be ready for trial. What do you think will happen? Likely they will push you harder to settle. I’d expect to see some partnering with others who do try cases, and some will try to get rid of their clients. That is my prediction, but again, I’m not a lawyer….. you are right in surmising from the article that this is a big push…..what’s next? I don’t think anyone can say for certain. It is a very good time to get some interpretation from your law firm. Will you take my case to court if I refuse to settle? Can you get more dollars from the master settlement? Can we tap into the extraordinary injury fund?

      • Lori says:

        I only settled out of desperate need of things I need NOW. I couldn’t wait another 7 years for another trial. I had 2 devices from the same manufacturer, bed ridden for 5 years and still in pain and flares. I was told since it was the same manufacturer on both, I will only be compensated for the one, NOT FAIR. I had to settle out of desperation to get what I need now, again not fair.

        I debated on holding off since I found other mesh sisters with the same attorney and manufacturer. I hope they get what we deserve, even though I didn’t. Injured for life, one of the very top tier injured is a bunch of BS!

        • Jane Akre says:

          Lori, I’ve not heard that you only receive compensation for one mesh if you have two??? Did you have revision surgeries? I will write you privately. Thanks

  2. Liss says:

    I have a bladder implant and it’s been redone countless times with one uti after another. I really want to live to see this but I’m afraid I may not. This big pharma has taken my quality of life.

  3. DG says:

    Jane, what will happen with those people that are not involved in the final waves of the MDL’s? Are the MDLs going away in the mesh cases?

    I don’t see my name on one of the dockets for Coloplast. Do you know if there is a different case # for other waves, and is all of Coloplast out of WV?

    • Jane Akre says:

      Are you also in another MDL? is your name there? Does your law firm talk to you? Check the So district of WV under Orders ( small print top) which you can click on to see if your name is listed under any of the orders. Law Firms! Run a press release on MND to talk to your clients and tell them how you plan on proceeding. !!!!

  4. Wren says:

    I too am very confused and deeply concerned. My “lawyer” will not talk with me personally. I have to send all correspondence thru her legal assistant. Many of the important questions go unanswered which is very unethical. I refused my settlement offer and asked if their firm would go on to further represent me in court and they have refused but are unwilling to recommend another firm to continue counsel. I feel like the “rug” once again is pulled out from under me. I will need on going treatment for the rest of my life and with financial resources unavailable to me, I fear the future. I have been an RN my whole career and will never be able to return to it. I gave my heart and soul to many patients and wish I could still be there for them but can’t due to this TVT mesh mess. I hope and pray that our legal system will come through for us and that we will not be dropped through the cracks

  5. Gina says:

    I’ve been told I would be worse off if I had removal of mesh so how can the go by if you’ve had revision surgery?
    And who can afford it. I can’t I’m on ss disability now.

  6. Gina says:

    And yes I’ve had permenant damage due to abdominal pain due to meshhad a cat scan and reaction from dye that took 2 er dr’s and a lung dr and I forget what next dr was, from January 22 to May for them to figure out I had an allergic reaction to dye and had a his timing reaction that last till this day, when all they had to do was give me a shot but no i suffered for 6 months with being given pills to make me stay asleep so I wouldn’t go crazy with the stinging I had thru out my body and swelling couldn’t breath right.

  7. CB says:

    Could someone please explain all of this to me. I retained an attorney. But there is no case number listed for me. Now my attorney tells me I’m in another group? And for me not to believe everything I read online… so is he doing anything or am I going to be left with nothing. I have had 2 revisions and full removal in December.

    • Jane Akre says:

      What don’t you understand? You have no case number? was your case not filed?

      • CB says:

        My name does not appear on any docket. My lawyer said I’m in a different settlement group. This doesn’t make any sense to me. I thought I was signing up for a lawsuit which in my mind includes filing a complaint with the court.

      • CB says:

        Yes I thought when I signed with an attorney it was to file a lawsuit with the court. But that hasn’t been done. What in the world does another settlement group mean? I have had 3 surgeries in less than a year, pain is still on going. Plus will need another surgery to fix the original problem.

  8. Victim Forever says:

    It’s about time these MDL cases get resolved…are they just waiting for us to actually die? If I do, my case settlement..if there is one will be taken over by my estate per my last will and testament…I had this will redone last September…I don’t believe I will live to see any justice from this horrible mesh…but I will go back to visit the surgeon who put these “gold standard ” meshes in my body and confront her face to face…I have had surgery to remove them..what’s left is about 20% which I believe is giving me an autoimmune disorder…keep up the fight ladies and thank you Jane for all your selfless efforts keeping us informed.

  9. Lucy says:

    This is one bogus arrangement. They seem to have put parameters on defining injury that are just false. After having a final removal surgery 11/26, recently have increased pain. My bladder has decided to go south with recurring infections. This latest experience is not documented nor a part of my case. I received a letter that instructed clients to get any new documentation in from 12/17 to 6/18. After that – forget it. The legal process will go on without new information. The letter informed us that lawyers didn’t negotiate any individual cases. The Master would decide how much each victim gets. Trial – that’s a joke. If the lawyers didn’t even negotiate individual grievances what’s the chance of trial? Ha! If I hurry up and jump on the OR table before June, I can submit a new op report. If I have the same surgery in July – forgetaboutit. I not only didn’t get better after the useless mesh in and mesh out – but, I’ve been feeling progressively worse over time. My rectum hurts, my bladder hurts, I lost my cervix, anus, uterus, gained a colostomy. And I’m in worse shape. The rectal surgeon palpated the hernia I now have. Said something about that I have a lot going on and walked away. They just get away with cutting you up and referring to pain management. Given the above circumstance, I have five months left to try to get a fix in under the mandated wire. How crazy is that? The manufacturer is covered. The surgeon walks and I’m left to suffer. This is disgusting. I really don’t feel well. A lot of pain in my rectum and abdomen. I feel like I’m crawling through what was my life. I gained nothing but intractable pain from treatment. Now the humiliation of having a non negotiated case unrepresented. And the judge is impatient. Are the execs at BS in pain. Is the judge in pain from bogus surgeries? I think not.

  10. Payton says:

    Hi Jane, First thank you for keeping us informed as much as you do it is greatly appreciated. I’m with Mazie Slater and Katz law firm they are very nice and keep me posted , but what does it mean when your case is in the discovery phase . Mine is not in Va and is against C.R. Bard who I know was bought by another company . The judge is correct this is taking entirely to long . I filed in 2012 and had a partial removal . Thank you again .

    • Jane Akre says:

      Discovery means I ask the other guy to provide documents pertaining to (this and that) what you specify. They are supposed to provide it. It works both ways. For example “We need all documents pertaining to the research and development of the Prolift Mesh kit, its predicate and the marketing of this kit. That may be overly broad (I’m not a lawyer) but you get it.

      • Still Standing says:

        Here is an important clarification. Discovery also allows the defendants the ability to access all of your personal medical records, requires you to file a very detailed plaintiff fact sheet, and you and your physicians will be deposed. These are costs that will be charged to your award or settlement. They are substantial. It allows both parties to see what cards are going to be played by both sides. Plaintiffs will see what expert defense witnesses are going to say. Defense will be able to pour over your records to find anything that they can use to discredit your claim. They will use your deposition to trap you into saying things that are contradictory to the facts you have sworn are true. They will also seek to find other potential causes for your pelvic pain in your medical records. While discovery moves your case, just remember that it doesnt always move it in your direction. It is important to really prepare for your deposition by being completely upfront with your attorney about every aspect of your life that could be discovered by the defense and used by them to strengthen their defense. This includes more than just the time period between your mesh implant and now. During my deposition, they went back to health records from when I was 18, more than 40 years. Be very cautious about using social media. Don’t post pictures of yourself on a trip if your fact sheet says you cant get out and go to the grocery store. Also remember during your deposition, their attorney can ask you any question they want and you have to answer. You are under oath. There is no judge present to rule that a question is inappropriate. I was asked about things in my past medical history that I didnt even remember because it was so insignificant. Just remember that discovery helps your attorneys build evidence for your case, but it also allows the defense to build evidence to prove their position. It is important to carefully prepare for this part of your litigation by getting all of your facts straight. Exaggerating your injuries will not help you. Don’t say you have a pain level of 20 on a 0-10 pain scale. Be prepared to show that you have taken every effort to mitigate your pain. Be prepared to be questioned about why you chose not to follow your doctor’s medical advice. For example, if he/ she recommended physical therapy and you did not follow through with that, why not? If there are multiple times that you disregarded medical advice, you need to be prepared to tell the defense why you did that. Paying attention to all of this will give credibility to yiur case.

        • Jane Akre says:

          Thank you Still Standing. Directly from someone who has been there. AND PLEASE do not use your real names here. Defense attorneys watch this site! You can use any name you choose, just not your own! Preparing for trial is no picnic even if you have the angels on your side!!

  11. jan says:

    Well makes me wonder
    If my attorneys are fighting for me
    My case had been off docket since June 2017
    And can not get a answer of truth from my attorneys office. .

  12. Elle says:

    I have been in the mix of the lawsuit since 2013. Have not had any contact with my attorney unless I initiate it. And then I speak with his legal assistant. The damage this has done to me is not fixable! It angers me that there is not settlement in sight and I am still struggling with issues 10 years after my 1st surgery!

  13. Kindness matters says:

    Thanks to Jane and the participants here for the much needed info over the years. I thought it was time to provide some of my own info in case others find it helpful:

    I was implanted with the Ethicon Gynecare TVT Secur (removed from market June 2012). I was a study patient. I know now what an absolute guinea pig I was!

    After years of dealing with chronic UTIs after the implantation, I finally went to a urologist who found mesh had migrated through my vagina (no wonder intercourse was painful and finally became impossible).

    I had revision surgery that was so complicated, the urologist had to call in another surgeon to help her. They basically cut away what they could and repaired my vagina.

    Problems with UTIs continue. And of course, my vagina is so atrophied from years of non use (remember the old advice of use it or lose it), that sex with my beloved husband has been non-existent for years.

    My case was filed in the Southern District of West Virginia court in 2013.

    I called my attorney yesterday after seeing that my case was listed in Wave 8 in Exhibit A for Judge Goodin’s Court Order #280. Thanks for directing me as to how to find that, Jane.

    The attorney explained that there was good news. . .that following the Judge’s order, Ethicon quickly reached a master settlement agreement with their firm on behalf of all of their Ethicon clients. She said it has not officially been signed, but has been agreed to.

    Attorney further explained that I will soon see my case moved onto an “inactive” docket, and not to be alarmed, that it just means it has been settled.

    This agreement was so new that the attorney was not prepared in any way to discuss proposed settlement amounts. Just explained that I will be getting a letter soon with the proposed settlement amount for my case, which is based on medical issues, # of surgeries, mesh in place, yada yada.

    The attorney also emphasized to be patient. . .that it would be over 6 months (at least).

    I then asked what happens if I decide not to take the settlement. The attorney said, “well, then you would get nothing.” Hmm, I might have been born on a Tuesday, but it wasn’t last Tuesday. I pushed on that, and explained that I don’t intend to jump ahead without knowing the settlement, but that I wanted to know my options. The attorney then explained that I would need to fire them and start from scratch.

    I backed off that conversation because I didn’t want to become antagonistic until I know what is being offered. I am keeping my fingers crossed, because obviously I have seen discussions here about such paltry sums. When I asked my attorney two years ago about these terrible settlements, I was told that the Ethicon settlements early on were with law firms that would take small sums (think low hanging fruit analogy). Time will tell.

    I posted this to let others know some of the latest info regarding the new order from the Judge advising both defense and plantiff for Wave 8 to prepare for trial. It seems Ethicon is doing some settling here and there despite their protestations that they would not.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Thank you Kindness- Did you know you were receiving TVT-Secur as part of a “study” – were you informed?
      I appreciate you informing everyone….. and have no idea why law firms do not. I guess they have too many clients. Also I’d have them fire you, not the other way around AND release you of any financial obligations toward them. … otherwise you could still be on the hook… Not that I generally advise firing your attorney. That’s a very difficult road to go

      • Kindness matters says:

        Jane, yes I did know I was in a study for this new and fabulous gold standard treatment for my problem (what I was told by the doc). I was naive in that I was assured that it was FDA approved (it was), Since my surgeon was a well known urologist I was probably also swooned by the VIP syndrome. Little did I know that he was making a killing by implanting me and others, all while teaching residents and other urologists and being paid by Johnson and Johnson AND insurance companies.

        He implanted the TVT-Secur in me in 2006.

        It’s a long story, and I won’t get into it here because there might be too much identifying information.

        And yes, I agree with you. If it comes down to it, I know to let the law firm fire me, rather than me firing them (thanks to all I have read here over the years). Hopefully, my firm was able to get reasonable and fair settlements from Ethicon for their clients. It’s certainly been a long time coming. Time will tell. Thanks for all you do for for so many with this site.

  14. Pat says:

    Jane,NJ case management 41 info.J&J seeking to take care of TVT product line.Plaintiffs asking for discovery on Australia’s ban on TVT.Next case mgmt on Feb 28.

  15. Calle says:

    Hi Jane,
    This is my second time writing in, this time using my “pen” name! Anyhow, I have just spoken to my attys out of san diego, that keep pushing me to take the paltry $9000 that is for the implant only category in the ams settlement matrix. there was a cut off of 12/31/18 for accepting their settlement offer. i had refused their request in that they would not give me a $ figure for my request to the “special master” for money from the “holdback fund”. They are wanting me to sign off on everything and everyone for $9000 and a question mark. All of a sudden i get a call from my atty, saying he had some atty from the other side on the phone and she came up with a figure of $17 pllus the 9. i have had 1 surgery but lots of infections and mesh protrusion into my vaginal wall. (oh my implant was in 2008) oh yea i actually have three products inmplantedm, the apogee, perigee and the sparc. when my surgen was taking out the mesh, he asked me if i had pop, which i said no. he couldnt understand why my doctor used the product that was for pop on me. my question is should i take their offer of 26?? i know its not much, and i sure could use the money..im homeless with a broken car and a bunch of pets. But….oh, Jane, i was reading the master agreement that you have a link to on your page, and if i not mistaken, THE LAWYERS ARE SUPPOSED TO STEER THEIR CLIENTS TOWARDS SIGNING THE SETTLEMENT. EVEN TO TELL THEM THEY WOULD NOT REPRESENT THEM IF THEY DIDNT? how can that be legal?

    • Jane Akre says:

      This is what you’re referring to. How can they have such a heavy hand in the settlement, when a lawyer is supposed to represent his/her client, is confusing and not at all clear. Unless the lawyer believes this is the best you will get.

      AMS Settlement- P. 17- Releasing AMS from any admission of liability. P. 20- Plaintiff attorney must have no intent to solicit or represent new clients and will not actively solicit prospective pelvic mesh clients via tv radio etc. P.21- Any disputes between AMS and claimants have to go to arbitration.
      Scroll to the end- You must agree that you have not been pressured to sign this settlement. P.20 of contract, P. 20.

      https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1100962/000110096213000038/ex10144meshsettlementagree.htm

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