December 1, 2016 ~ Welcome to Mesh Medical Device News Desk, your news resource for what is going on in the world of pelvic mesh and lately, hernia mesh.
The year has gone quickly, and now as we end it with our annual emphasis on excessive holiday spending and billionaires who can’t spend enough in their lifetimes, so I can’t help but think about money.
I’d like to wrap up the year by sharing some opinions from me, your editor, a non lawyer who has observed many different facets of this mesh mess over five years of coverage.
Trial lawyers like to see themselves as defenders of the little guy, the Atticus Finches of the world, and many commit to doing just that – righting wrongs usually committed by corporate giants who are unaccountable for their actions. Put profits before people, at any cost.
But the world of Mass Torts has brought out the law firms who work mass number of clients brought through referral services and a proliferation of late night ads “Injured by transvaginal mesh? Operators are standing by.”
Few of these firms actually ever expected to do the heavy lifting necessary to work up these cases for trial. It takes many flights and millions of dollars, a team of workers and deep pockets, to do justice to discovering the real story to present to a jury.
Instead, some firms thought there would be a few bellwether cases tried in the federal court in Charleston, WV and the settlement dollars would flow. That was the theory. There was no way they planned on working up 1,000 clients for trial.
As readers now know, while AMS threw in the towel early and began settling cases (in the process avoiding discovery into how it brought its pelvic mesh to the market), the larger companies have been holdouts.
As a result, the settlement dollars they are offering are largely disappointing and law firms fail to hold their feet to the fire. Many of you call MND to complain. To make matters worse, some law firms present settlement documents with no dollar amount and no information on case costs that will be subtracted from the mesh injured women. Sign it they say, without her knowing what she is signing.
Mesh in place might receive a nuisance settlement of maybe $5,000 dollars. You don’t have any problems, take the money and have a nice Christmas.
But what about tomorrow? Say in six months you begin to have complications, repeat infections, and nerve pain shooting down your leg.
Sorry, your case is closed. You cannot have a second bite of the apple AND you have likely signed a contract with a nondisclosure clause, so you cannot go public with your dilemma. So much for pain and suffering.
Now we are hearing ads that the deadline for mesh settlement is upon us and you must file and settle now!
The only deadlines are between the manufacturers and the law firms. Although it may not sound like it, the client is in the driver’s seat. The law firm doesn’t get its 40% if you, the client, don’t agree to a settlement.
Instead, many women are seeking new counsel.
This should not be construed as legal advice but common sense – Ask your lawyer if he or she will continue to represent you if you do not accept the settlement? Will you be discharged as a client? Being discharged could be the best thing that happened. If you are fired as a client, you are a free agent to seek the services of another law firm who will take your case seriously.
Remember that even a trial does not guarantee a win. Some truly injured women have lost their cases before a jury and get nothing. The law firm gets nothing either and does not recoup its costs. It’s a crap shoot. Anyone who promises you otherwise should be met
Please choose a legal firm with care. As the dust settles in the new year, there will be fewer law firms willing to take on transvaginal mesh cases as the mass tort mass numbers guys leave to chase the newest, shiniest mass tort.
For those of you who have received a substantial settlement, and there are some of you, I wish you the best of healing and health ahead knowing that no amount of money will ever replace your health.
I’m truly sorry for your loss.
Mesh News Desk