July 26, 2012 ~ A panel of federal judges will meet on Thursday, July 26, to decide whether or not to expand vaginal mesh litigation to include a sixth multidistrict litigation.
Currently there are four MDLs consolidated in Charleston, West Virginia before the Honorable Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. The other MDL is in federal court in the Middle District of Georgia.
The sixth MDL would likely include cases filed against Mentor Corp. for vaginal mesh sold by Coloplast. Mentor developed and sold vaginal mesh products and sold them to Coloplast of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2006. The company makes mesh products for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Some of the brand names include the Aris Transobturator Sling, Exair, Restorelle, Minitape, Omnisure, Supris Suprapublic Sling, T-sling, and the Novasilk sling. The cases would join others naming Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson), American Medical Systems, C.R. Bard, and Boston Scientific before Judge Goodwin.
Last February, injured women and their attorneys petitioned to have hundreds of mesh injury cases transferred to Judge Goodwin’s court.
The plaintiffs argued that their claims of injury are substantially similar and Judge Goodwin was familiar with the Bard Avaulta mesh injuries and will understand how to handle claims where multiple mesh devices from different manufacturers were used on the same female patient.
In an MDL (multidistrict litigation) there must be common questions of fact before the cases can be consolidated. An MDL is different from a class action lawsuit in that the MDL allows those injured to file individual product liability lawsuits while at the same time they share discovery and experts and benefit from a uniform set of rules and rulings.
An MDL cuts down on the cost of bringing a case forward. One judge oversees discovery and rules and procedures while the cost of duplicating documents for thousands of plaintiffs is reduced making litigation more cost and time effective.
Cases filed against the nine mesh manufacturers now number in the thousands. #