April 18, 2013 ~ Thanks go out to attorney Harry Bell who is based in Charleston, West Virginia, the location of the federal courthouse that will hear thousands of transvaginal and incontinence surgical mesh cases.
He provided MDND with an update on today’s Status Conference on the cases filed against Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson), C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems (AMS), Boston Scientific and Coloplast.
Here is the website for the court.
Bell tells MDND that about 50 lawyers from around the country gathered before The Honorable Judge Joseph R. Goodwin this morning to hear updates and report on the progress of the 17,478 defective product cases which are consolidated in one federal court to allow them to get to trial sooner – one judge, one ruling, less confusion.
Everything appears to be on track for the next trial – C.R. Bard scheduled for July 8, 2013 in the Southern District of West Virginia federal court located in Charleston.
Both Plaintiff and Defense attorneys are working on the tolling agreements. Bell says that allows each side to file cases over a period of time rather than jamming the court before a certain deadline which would create a logistical nightmare. If for example, the tolling agreement is in place and it extends to November, cases can then be filed up until that date without being excluded because the Statute of Limitations has expired.
Plaintiff Profile Forms
If you are a Plaintiff and your law firm has not reminded you, it is important to turn in your Plaintiff Profile Form. Without that form your case could be in jeopardy. The lawyers are the ones who are chastised if the Plaintiff Profile Forms are not turned in on a timely basis.
Both sides are working on an order that would update the cross utilization of documents. If, for example, a document is produced in AMS litigation where the defense is talking about how bad a Bard product is, lawyers want to be able to use that document in the Bard litigation as well. The question is how do you give notice to the other side, especially if they are not there in an AMS deposition? Those are the logistical issues the court is working on.
Delivery of Documents
Bell says AMS has been slow producing discovery documents, that is, documents each side asks the other to produce under subpoena. This may include internal company documents and emails that can be very damaging to a Defendant. The Plaintiff attorneys have filed a motion that AMS has not been as forthcoming as it should be with discovery information and the Court should sanction AMS or issue an order to produce the documents. The Court has directed AMS to file a response and the Plaintiff’s side will file a reply to that response which should be entered into the court record by April 29.
Apparently Coloplast still does not have a handle on how many claims it will be facing. As of today there are 313 Coloplast cases filed (MDL No. 2387); 5,445 cases filed against Ethicon (MDL No. 2327); 3,307 cases filed against Boston Scientific (MDL No. 2326); 5,573 cases filed against American Medical Systems (MDL No. 2325) and 2,840 cases filed against C.R. Bard (MDL No. 2187).
Where is the Media?
Bell adds an interesting perspective as someone who has practiced law for 33 years. Gathered in the Charleston federal court are 50 lawyers from around the country representing 17,000 plaintiffs – injured women some of whom will never be made whole.
“This has significance to women around the country facing huge corporate defendants and not one single person from the media covers the hearing.”
Bell adds that the CBS affiliate building is on the back side of the courthouse and all of the major media affiliates are located in Charleston.
“Somebody knocks over a car wash and you have Live Action News! It never ceases to amaze me.”
Harry F. Bell founded The Bell Law Firm PLLC (here) has practiced all forms of personal injury, product liability, business litigation and employment law for more than 30 years. The Bell Law Firm is local counsel for the many lawyers who come from around the country.