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The Difference Between Hope and Despair – Same Facts, Different Way of Telling a Story

Hal Lewis

Hal Lewis

By Halley B. (Hal) Lewis, III, of Fonvielle Lewis Foote & Messer (wrongfullyinjured.com)

“Life isn’t fair.”

It’s a saying that has probably been around since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, and it’s a feeling that every victim of defective surgical mesh probably experiences on a daily basis.  Nobody deserves to suffer innocently as the result of someone else’s fault, which is why many of the juries to date have come down hard on the manufacturers with very large verdicts in favor of the victims.  But even those courageous women who have prevailed in trial thus far and been compensated fairly in the eyes of a jury would all still tell you that “life isn’t fair” because they still have to face the rest of their lives with the pain and uncertainty associated with their permanent mesh-related injuries.  This is the stark reality of our legal system, so anyone who ever expects to feel like they truly received a fair outcome at the end of their case is only setting themselves up for disappointment – especially if they try to compare their result with the highest reported verdicts on record and not with the least favorable results.

It is human nature to hear about someone else who received millions of dollars for a similar injury and to wish for the same result, yet it is also human nature to hear about someone with a similar injury getting nothing as the result of losing their trial and to block it out by coming up with excuses and reasons for why that wouldn’t happen to them.  As humans, we try to always remain optimistic and see ourselves with a positive future, but this can oftentimes lead to unreasonably optimistic expectations in legal matters.

Scales of Justice, WikiCommons

Scales of Justice, WikiCommons

Nobody files a lawsuit expecting to lose, yet it happens hundreds of times a day in courtrooms across America.  A lawyer who has not lost a trial that he or she fully expected to win is a lawyer who has not tried a lot of cases.  All it takes is a judge or a single juror who has preconceived biases against lawsuits or lawyers and everything is lost.  Yes, lawyers try desperately during jury selection to identify and remove these biased jurors from the panel, but jurors with a personal vendetta against lawsuits are savvy enough to know that they need to keep their feelings silent and repeatedly tell the court that they can be “fair.”

So there is one of life’s great ironies: the only time it’s fair is when it’s someone else’s version of what is fair and not your own. 

This is a discussion that I have with my clients on a daily basis.  They come into my office having heard of someone somewhere who was awarded millions of dollars after having an automobile accident, and they expect to receive the same result.  After all, that would only be “fair,” wouldn’t it?  I have to compassionately explain to them that just because two people have the exact same injuries, there are several factors that will prevent them from having the same legal outcome.  And time after time, the most common factor mentioned is the defendant’s ability to pay the judgment.

There simply is no legal tool for making assets appear where they do not exist, so there is no way for a lawyer to recover the same compensation for someone who was injured by an old pick-up truck with minimal insurance coverage as that lawyer could get for someone who was run over by a Budweiser truck.  So every day, thousands of injured victims across the country are left with no choice but to settle their case for the minimal insurance coverage limits and to come to the realization that their case is not the same as that other case that they had heard about… because life isn’t fair.  These settlements aren’t newsworthy and nobody wants to talk about them, so all the general public continues to read about are the large verdicts; nobody ever clarifies how extremely rare those verdicts are.

So how does all of this translate into the current surgical mesh MDL situation and the ongoing settlement discussions?  After all, these corporate defendants are all billion dollar companies with far more assets than any of us could ever imagine owning.  But let’s take a closer look at exactly what that means from a practical standpoint.

Dollar sign, WikiCommons

Dollar sign, WikiCommons

Billions and Billions

For my example, I will use Endo International (Endo/AMS) and C.R. Bard, Inc. (Bard) as two companies whose value we will try to break down.  A quick look at any stock market report tells us that the “Market Capitalization” for both companies is roughly $12 billion.  Does this mean that Endo/AMS and Bard both have $12 billion in cash just sitting in a bank somewhere?  No.  It just means that the total value of their outstanding shares of stock is $12 billion each.  But since those shares are mostly held by public investors, their value has no relevance when it comes to settlement purposes.  In other words, Bard could not just agree to turn over the $12 billion in stock as part of any settlement because they don’t own them.

Furthermore, if we look at a hypothetical situation where the FDA comes out and prohibits Bard from ever again selling mesh, it would logically cause Bard’s stock price to plummet, thereby turning Bard from a $12 billion company into a $6 billion company overnight.  This is why “Market Capitalization” is horribly misleading and totally irrelevant in the context of any ongoing and settlement discussions.  It is more important to focus on line items such as net income and cash on hand in order to get a more accurate and realistic picture of how much companies like Endo/AMS and Bard can pay out overall without putting themselves out of business.

And after reading that last sentence you might be asking, “Don’t we want them to go out of business?”  The answer — at least from a settlement frame of reference — is absolutely not!  Future expected cash flow is going to make up a very large portion of any settlement, so the worst thing possible would be for that income stream to be cut off completely.  Just like all of us count on future income when we go out and borrow to buy a house, these companies count on future income when they determine how much they can finance a mass tort settlement.  So let’s take a closer look at income and cash flow for Endo/AMS and Bard.aaabard logo

According to the income statements filed with the SEC for the past three reporting years, Endo/AMS has had a net income (exclusive of some accounting write-offs) of approximately $500 million each year.  Bard, over that same period of time, has brought in roughly $775 million per year.  And at the end of 2013, each company had a little bit more than $1 billion cash-on-hand according to their balance statements.  This gives us a much better idea of what is really there and what can really be expected in terms of a final global settlement. (It is true that both companies also carry insurance to cover mesh-related damages, but those confidential amounts are not going to be anywhere near a billion dollars.)

Hopefully now it is starting to become evident as to why these companies cannot just enter into open-ended settlements with numbers large enough to fully satisfy every claim.  There are just too many injured victims and not enough money to go around.  Even if you use a $2 million figure (which according to the juries thus far is conservative for the most seriously injured victims) and you multiply it by the 25,000 for the number of injury cases that have been filed against Endo/AMS, you get a total of $50 billion!  This is why Judge Goodwin is openly telling everyone that there won’t be any multi-million dollar mass settlements; he has the same financial information and he has done the same math.

Judge Joseph Goodwin

Judge Joseph Goodwin

Billions and Bankruptcy

Think back for a minute about what I wrote earlier about not wanting these companies to shut down, and use the same analysis for why we do not want them to go into bankruptcy.  If Endo/AMS was forced to liquidate through Chapter 7 and put 100% of its assets into a trust for injured mesh victims, what would that look like?  The trust would get the $1 billion cash-on-hand, a few office buildings, and several warehouses full of Endo/AMS’s inventory – which is mesh!  Can you think of anything more insulting for mesh victims than to have their settlement paid in mesh?

Now, compare that bankruptcy scenario to the current Endo/AMS global settlement of $1.6 billion and it becomes a little clearer as to how the numbers were reached.  In reality, the settlement is far better for victims than having Endo/AMS say, “Fine, you win, take everything we have and we will close our doors for good.”  And just like there is no way possible that Endo/AMS could ever come up with $50 billion, the same is true for Bard, Boston Scientific, and even industry behemoth Johnson & Johnson.  Accordingly, it is unquestionably impossible for any global settlement to fully compensate all of the victims, and hopefully anyone who expected otherwise can now see why that is.

I know firsthand how hard it will be on an individual basis for any mesh victim to say “OK, I will settle and accept much less than I deserve,”… but I also know that this is the only possible outcome that is “fair” to everyone who has ever been injured by this terrible product.  Otherwise, the huge group of mesh victims that is now currently bound together in solidarity will be forced to fight against each other in a race to the courthouse to see who gets paid while the companies are still viable and who gets left out when they file bankruptcy.

It would be analogous to opening a box of twelve cookies in a room with 500 children.  There is a way for every child to get a taste of cookie, but not without a system in place that treats everyone equally and controls the situation.  If the first twelve children rush in and eat a full cookie each, then the remaining 488 children will be out of luck.  So is it “fair” that each child will only get a tiny piece of a cookie?  No… but it’s a lot better outcome for the large majority of the group than the alternative outcome.  In other words, it’s a much “fairer” result when seen from the viewpoint of the group, because everyone is making a sacrifice for the good of the group as a whole.  We are all in this together.Gavel 500

The Big Picture

Along those same lines, it is counterproductive and irrational for victims to be blaming their own lawyer for why their case has not yet been resolved.  The whole purpose of the MDL is to put a moratorium on mesh trials while the bellwether cases are being tried.  So far, given the great successes by the plaintiff lawyers to date, everything is going perfectly for mesh victims as a group.  So while it may seem like your individual case is not moving, it isn’t because your lawyer doesn’t want it to.  It’s because the rules of MDL are prohibiting your lawyer from doing so.  So rather than be angry at what seems like inactivity, one should be pleased with the verdicts thus far, because I can assure you that the positive outcomes are increasing the value of everyone’s settlement in the end.  These MDL’s always take time, but they always work out in the end.  Things are going great, and real progress is being made.

As a final note, please realize that these manufacturing companies have every incentive to settle these cases for the exact same reasons that I have discussed herein.  They can do the math, and they can see that paying out large verdicts every month will land them in bankruptcy.  Thus, they are motivated to settle for anything that allows them to stay in business. 

So while they are publicly touting the safety of their products and publicly ridiculing the victims and their lawyers, they are privately working furiously to salvage their companies.  But just like no reasonable person would go to work every day for ten years if they weren’t going to make a dime of income over that decade, no company is going to agree to a settlement that keeps them in business without being able to turn a profit.  There has to be some give and take, because as I explained previously, we need these companies to keep generating income that can be used to pay out our claims.

If everyone can begin to see the big picture and start to understand why mesh victims are never going to be satisfied with a global settlement that seems “fair” to them individually, then we can continue to move forward towards a global settlement that is as close to fair as it can be to the group as a whole.  On other hand, if every mesh victim is determined to settle for nothing less than “a full cookie,” then every mesh victim needs to be prepared for the strong possibility of being one of the 95% that gets no cookie at all.

Given those odds, I would be negligent to recommend to any of my clients that they spurn any eventual settlement.  Not because I don’t understand their pain, not because I don’t want to work on their case, and not because I think they deserve anything less than full compensation.  But as long as the eventual settlement is like all other MDL settlements before it in which the most serious claims get the most compensation, I will spend as much of my time as needed to show my clients why they are coming out ahead in the end.  Because the only maxim as proven as “life isn’t fair” is that a “bird in the hand beats two in the bush” every time.

 Halley B. (Hal) Lewis, III, is the managing partner of the law firm Fonvielle Lewis Foote & Messer (wrongfullyinjured.com). The firm represents plaintiffs nationwide in pharmaceutical and medical device cases, including transvaginal and hernia mesh litigation, and has been involved in numerous MDL mass torts dating all the way back to the Dalkon Shield cases in the 1970’s.

201 Comments

  1. Disgusted says:

    While I understand financially what this lawyer is saying. I disagree in whole with his argument. The example of the 500 kids and the 12 cookies only addresses the end outcome. What is missing is these cookies are the antidote to the poison the children were given by a company who was irresponsible and even cut corners with depraved indifference. The amount of cookies is not enough to save these children or even make them comfortable. Laws need to change. Jail time needs to be in place for this kind of wanton greed. The highly paid employees should have to lose their billion dollar parachutes. Until we hold corporations responsible for their actions it will be more of the same. To allow more women to be maimed unspeakably as we have seen so far is incredibly negligent. Our government won’t (probably should though) let them fail. Just like banks and cars. We are living in a “house of cards”. Personally, I don’t want to be paid on other peoples pain.

    • Jane Akre says:

      I’m just wondering if they go out of business (less likely with J&J of course) like asbestos victims, who have never received compensation, who wins then? There is no good answer. Obviously the FDA needs to get off its butt and reclassify ALL mesh as Class III AND mandate a black box label warning so patients have true informed consent. (thank you David Schmidt for that wisdom)…..AND Congress needs to fund the FDA adequately to do its job to protect Americans rather than the lobbyists/ manufacturers who pay their bills!

    • Jane Akre says:

      I’m just wondering if they go out of business (less likely with J&J of course) like asbestos victims, who have never received compensation, who wins then? There is no good answer. Obviously the FDA needs to get off its butt and reclassify ALL mesh as Class III AND mandate a black box label warning so patients have true informed consent. (thank you David Schmidt for that wisdom)…..AND Congress needs to fund the FDA adequately to do its job to protect Americans rather than the lobbyists/ manufacturers who pay their bills! Oh and let’s not forget the criminal charges that might see corporate executives who were in charge during this debacle, go to prison, in the general population please….not country club prison.

      • linda says:

        Thank you Jane and this verbally expert attorney, however this subject to smooth our ruffled feathers and get us to agree to lower settlements than we deserve why are they, (the lawyers, the judges and on down the the legal line) not agreeing to accept lower fees or at least the judge let the victims get their full rights to whatever settlement and let the pharmaceutical companies pay the attorneys fees in anunities to avoid going out of business or bankrupt? they have the staff to handle collections, and they would have a steady income while a lot of us die due to no or uneducated medical care. I have four law firms getting a share of my settlement because they all specialize in different areas and are out to WIN. Also the stuff about Georgia getting 75% of punitive damages is corruption and cruel and unacceptable punishment for the injured. I went through three (3) years of being ignored, blacklisted as a drug addict and treated like a wet stinky dog come in from the rain. Yet Medicare and Medicaid will have their hand out to be repaid for the awfull treatment they allowed doctors to do to me.

        if you have the time i need a word of comfort.

        • Jane Akre says:

          I’m so sorry Linda…. I can only hope that the companies decide to do the right thing and not seek the bottom dollar to make you go away…. and I can only hope that this becomes clearly the national tragedy that it is in the media’s eye. This should be front page news! Every women should understand this dark chapter in how women are treated in this country for profits! We all need to understand tort reform and how it has fooled Americans into thinking they are voting for their rights, when the exact opposite is true.

        • Hal Lewis says:

          Linda,

          This is how everyone needs to look at the issue of attorney’s fees:

          Any recovery that a plaintiff makes from a personal injury lawsuit IS TAX FREE.

          The IRS has allowed this exclusion to remain in place specifically because they know that victims who make a recovery are typically going to have already paid their lawyer 33% of the recovery.

          In other words… you will end up EXACTLY THE SAME after winning a $500,000 personal injury lawsuit ($333,333 in your pocket) as you would if Publisher’s Clearinghouse came to your front door tomorrow and told you that you won $500,000 in their sweepstakes. The IRS would take 33% of you sweepstakes winnings… and you would end up with the same net result.

          Would you be angry at the IRS if you won the sweepstakes? NO. You would be thankful and rejoicing over the fact that you now at least have $333,333 that you would not have had without winning. You should view your lawsuit the same way. Your lawyer is NOT the bad guy.

          Your lawyer took a risk when he signed up your case without charging you any hourly fee. I can provide you a list a mile long of lawyers who took on contingency fee cases that looked great at first but then ended up bringing in NO FEE after years of work. Those lawyers made NOTHING for all of their time.

          Specifically, look at the first few mesh trials against Boston Scientific. THE PLAINTIFF LOST. SHE GOT NOTHING. Don’t you think those women would LOVE to have the problem now of having to worry about paying their lawyers? Yes, because they would at least have 66% of something. Now they have nothing — and so do their lawyers.

          Your lawyer is BOUND by the MDL rules. This is not his or her fault. They want to be out there trying the cases and earning the big fees. But they can’t. The MDL controls which few bellwether cases get tried. Why then should your lawyer get less percentage fee when it is not his or her fault that they can’t move forward at this time? After all, as I pointed out in other comments, your lawyer will already lose a great deal of potential earnings if and when the case settles for less than its full value due to all of the bankruptcy issues.

          And by the way… that 33% that your lawyer gets (the $133,333 in our $500,000 settlement example)… THAT AMOUNT IS TAXABLE.

          So nobody’s lawyer is taking home 33% of their settlement. They are giving a third of their income to the IRS. This means that out of a typical settlement:

          67% goes to the victim

          22% goes to the lawyer

          11% goes to the IRS

          Everyone needs to stop trying to make their lawyer out to be some greedy bad person. We are working under the same contingency fee rules that have been in place in America for centuries in order to allow individuals the ability to hire powerful lawyers who can fight on equal footing with powerful corporations. THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A SECOND.

          Jo Huskey, an ordinary woman, was able to hire an attorney and beat Johnson & Johnson at trial last year. One of the largest companies in the world… and they were beaten by a sweet little lady who didn’t have millions of dollars to pay her lawyers like J&J did. This is what we WANT in America… and ALL of the mesh victims will benefit from that victory.

          So just because your attorney may not end up being one of the lucky ones who gets called by Judge Goodwin to go try your case… it does NOT mean that he should have to lower his percentage fee.

          • Terri White says:

            Hal, do you really believe that all or even most attorneys behave in the manner which you refer too ? My case was settled five years ago. I did not even know till a week or so later ! Unless I am mistaken they paid themselves 40% from each of the 100 plus victims. Then millions more in cost. One of the attorneys was paid xxx,xxx.xx for a finders fee. I was charged and paid thousands to this same attorney to keep the wolves at bay while by case was pending. So no sir not all attorneys are on the same page as you.The only thing I had left after the mesh had destroyed me physically and financially was my sanity and I be damned! The very ones I trusted to right the horrific damages from mesh did far worse. Living with depression is no life. No life at all…….

          • Hal Lewis says:

            Dear Terri,

            I am very sorry to hear about your situation. Hopefully some of what I discuss will give everyone the ability to have a frank and educated discussion with their own attorney about what to expect on all fronts – both from a fee and a recovery standpoint. I always say that it is better to know ahead of time what is coming than to be blindsided by it.

            One major benefit of the MDL is the SAVINGS that it will allow every victim to pocket when it comes to litigation “costs.”

            The plaintiffs who are trying their bellwether cases right now are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to hire testifying experts, prepare exhibits, take and order depositions, travel all over the world for discovery, etc. Given how hard the manufacturers are defending these cases, I am guessing that it is costing at least $250,000 for these bellwether plaintiffs to win their cases. THAT $250,000 COMES OUT OF THEIR VERDICT. It is not paid by the defendants, and it is not over and above their recovery.

            So by setting up an MDL, the hope is that we can reach a global settlement that PREVENTS everyone else from having to spend that $250,000 to try their case. This is a HUGE SAVINGS to every victim who settles.

            It makes a $250,000 settlement come out exactly the same as getting $500,000 at trial.

            If you choose NOT to settle… the only lawyers you are making rich are the lawyers for J&J and the other manufacturers…because they charge BY THE HOUR and are perfectly happy trying these cases every day for the next 25 years. They are the ones getting rich — because they get paid win or lose!

          • Charles says:

            Mr louis i have no problem with your scenario. I am grateful for the assistance i am getting butttt our attorneys decided to opt for us to sign a contract for them to reieve 45 percent plus expenses but assured us their fee wounld not exceed 50 percent. How kind of them. We signed in 2011 and have strong case and they know it. I feel grateful but a bit used also. We did t know any better at the time.

          • Ronald James says:

            Your comparison of the lottery winner and being better off with 66% of the winnings is better than no winnings is ridiculous. First off the lottery winner doesn’t have to live in pain and shame for their winnings. My mother will never be rid of her health issues because of the greed of j&j. So if you were as smart as you think you are then you’d use a better analogy.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Disgusted,

      You are absolutely right about how the laws need to be changed in order to hopefully prevent future disasters… but none of that can be applied retroactively to our current mesh situation. Rejecting whatever global settlement is eventually crafted will NOT change the laws or do anything to help the victims. The milk has been spilled, so crying over it is not going to make it go away. The only thing our civil justice system currently allows for is financial remuneration for the victims, so the MDL is focused on trying to maximize that compensation as best possible. NOBODY is downplaying the seriousness and sadness of the injuries that mesh victims have suffered (at least nobody besides trial counsel for J&J), but we need to stand united and do the best we can with what we have available. Again, complaining about the insufficiency of compensation is normal and expected… but it won’t change anything.

      • Mary says:

        Hal, then let’s say with endo and the 1.6 billion agreement,40% of that will go to attys? is there a cap on how much the attys get? It just seems unfair that attys with this one case can become millionaires while we may be left still totally disabled ,in pain and struggling to pay medical bills. This is wrong and even more unfair than what has been done to us by this mesh!

        • Hal Lewis says:

          Dear Mary,

          This will be explained in detail in my next article, but I respectfully submit that you are incorrect.

          Not one single attorney will become a millionaire as the result of any individual’s settlement. In fact, just as victims are getting less than they deserve in a settlement… so will every attorney.

          As I said in another comment below, every lawyer who represents a seriously injured victim is chomping at the bit to go try that case and get a $3 million verdict so that they can earn a $1 million fee. NO lawyer ever WANTS to settle a case for a fraction of its worth… because they end up with a fraction of the fee they would have made.

          Trust me, there is nothing more frustrating for me than signing up a case in which someone has been killed and promising the family that I am going to bust my butt to get them everything they deserve… only to find out a week later that the driver who caused the fatal accident has no assets and only $10,000 in insurance coverage. I HATE THIS FOR MY CLIENTS. They deserve far more than this, but there is no way to get more blood from a turnip. But at the same time, it means that my opportunity to bring in a nice fee is gone as well.

          So getting back to mesh… the attorneys do NOT want to settle. We WANT to go to court and kick their butts and earn a big fee. But in the end, we have to do what is best for our clients — not our egos or our wallets.

          SO… if you are looking at the big picture… YES, hundreds of millions of dollars from the settlement will go to lawyers.

          BUT… just like with the victims… that amount will be spread out and divided up between tens of thousands of lawyers.

          • Mary says:

            Thank you for taking the time to explain this to us, my atty has done everything by email,no stamps,no paper, no court appearances or individual briefs prepared. I pray that I’m wrong but when one lawyer has 1300 or 1400 clients I respectfully summit that my scenario will happen over and I’ve again. I’m just a little jaded about your denial that it can or will. Sir it makes me wonder. Many women are being bullied by thier attys, pushed to accept these settlemens with your same arguments. Some come nice like your presentation, some are nasty and mean but it is the same to us, if we are misled and settle for nothing. You said yourself that no money will compensate us for our loss! Even since I had the removal I am in constant pain, I can’t sit or stand or lay comfy ably for any amount of tint. I can no longer run my business , I can not be intimate with my husband, no recreation with my grands I have no life. If it were not for my faith in God I would have given up a long time ago. Really if I won’t be compensated I’d rather see these heartless greedy people be shut down!! I do believe I speak for quite a few of us. Do you really think we want companies like these to survive and do this or something worst to our sons and daughters?

          • Hal Lewis says:

            Mary,

            I don’t understand why anyone thinks that just because an attorney has 100 clients that he should earn a smaller percentage from each of his clients than the attorney who only has one client?

            Do we expect to pay less for gas at the convenience store that is owned by a company that has 100 stores than we pay for gas at a store that is owned by a sole proprietor?

            Do we get to tell Delta that we are going to pay less for our airline seat because they own 1000 other planes and will be making money on all of those planes?

            AFTER ALL, WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE?

            If we somehow arbitrarily told every lawyer that he or she could only take ONE mesh case instead of ONE HUNDRED… then every mesh victim would still be paying 33% of their recovery to a lawyer. It would just mean that a lot more lawyers were involved — it wouldn’t save any victim any money.

            IN FACT, IT WOULD BE WORSE. Think about it.

            Do you want to hire a good lawyer who knows what he is doing and who has shown the ability to prevail? YES. Well what if he already has 25 mesh clients. Do you want to be forced to have to hire some local yokel lawyer who has never seen the inside of a courtroom? NO. You should be able to hire the good lawyer just like everyone else did.

            But expecting to be able to hire the good lawyer AND get a discount? That just doesn’t make sense when even the local yokel would have charged you 33%.

          • Terri White says:

            HAL, unless the rules have changed. I must disagree with you concerning attorneys making millions while the victims have had to settle or in my case forced to settle for far less than deserved. I have paperwork showing where the firm that represented me paid themselves $40% pulse expensive’s from each client’s actual award.You do the math. For I am bound by the confidential statement I signed. Another action I question ? These same attorneys are now representing 100’s of more victim’s with the knowledge and expertise we paid millions for. That can not be justified, Yes attorneys deserve to be paid and paid well. No attorney should pay themselves that kinda money knowing first hand what we (the victims) have and continue to go through. Earlier I told you about one attorney being given xxx,xxx.xx for passing my case on to a bigger firm. You didn’t respond to that comment. Think of the ladies who could really use just a thousand of that money.

            Someone mentioned in a comment earlier about the victims getting paid all of the settlement funds collected and the attorneys being paid by future earnings from these companies. It’s not like they’re losing homes, autos, paying past and future medical bills, not able to work, going without much needed medical care and medicines, abandonment from spouses, family, friends and a painful existence till death. Yes I think this might help these ladies more than destroying the only hope they have.I know that feeling . Like mesh you never get over it.

      • Disgusted says:

        Mr. Lewis,

        I wasn’t complaining about the low ball amounts each would receive. My point was that there already isn’t enough to go around. But stating (as many others have already pointed out) that they need to stay in business selling the same product that has injured so many is ludicrous. Why in the world would anyone who has been maimed like this, wish mesh on anyone else so they could have a small bite of the cookie? You have stated that the stocks would drop if the FDA required mesh to be black boxed. Yes, there would be a lot of losses in the stock market – life isn’t fair as you have pointed out. Perhaps losses in stocks would also guide the company into more responsible decision making (if they stay afloat). Money isn’t the most important part of this equation. The public should be made aware of exactly what is happening and there should be an outcry for change. Those who’ve yet to be injured should be spared this devastation. Also, just as in drug related offenses where the money/property owned by the dealers can be seized, this should be true of the CEO’s, CFO’s etc. who engage in irresponsible marketing for profit.

        Also, I would like to know why only the women’s division of these companies are being looked at as assets, as the company as a whole makes much more on all their product lines.

        I do appreciate your answers to the questions posed here. I understand where you are coming from as an attorney trying to get the best amount for your clients. I just object to saying that they need to remain in business so that your clients get the most they can. It is allowing the crime to go on over and over. There must be a better way, not now for us as the “milk has already spilled”, but for the prevention of future mesh victims.

        Another question: Isn’t the insurance company for the mesh companies able to opt out of coverage if they find some fraudulent activity? It seems to me that the companies would have to do their due diligence on every product in order for this to hold. Products have been shown to be defective and have a failure to warn, doesn’t that let them off the hook?

        Thank you for your time.

        • Hal Lewis says:

          Dear Disgusted,

          I am looking back at our global Tobacco settlement that we crafted in 1997 as my example. If cigarettes had just been made illegal (since there was no doubt that they were killing people)… then the companies would have never been able to pay back the hundred of billions of dollars to the 50 states that they ended up paying. Those states had been covering the Medicaid costs of sick smokers for decades, and they were able to do a lot of great things for their states in education and healthcare with the money they recovered.

          BUT… the trade off was that cigarettes had to keep being produced in order for the settlement money to be there in future cash flow.

          The compromise was that from that day forward, cigarettes would come with a big black box warning that specifically told consumers the dangers of the product and how it would kill.

          THIS IS MY HOPE IN MESH.

          We already know that many of the mesh product lines have been discontinued or removed from the market as the result of our MDL litigation. We already know that the manufacturers are working desperately to patent a mesh that doesn’t maim and injure like the older versions did.

          So now if we can prevail in a mass settlement — perhaps part of the settlement will be the manufacturers voluntarily having to put much much stronger warnings on their promotional information so that doctors and patients are fully informed.

          That’s really all you can ever ask in this country. We are a country founded on freedom of choice… so we allow our citizens to choose their way of life. We let them have guns, cigarettes, alcohol, gamble, skydive, or take whatever other risks they want to take — AS LONG AS THEY ARE FULLY INFORMED OF THE RISK AHEAD OF TIME.

          Quite frankly, I don’t personally know many people who would elect to use mesh in the future after being fully informed about how dangerous it is… but look how many people still smoke?

          • Mari says:

            It’s been inferred that people will not agree to use mesh if blackbox labeled. But lots of mesh will still get implanted Because we don’t know they are using “Mesh”. I was never told I was going to get mesh. I was told they would likely use a “cadaver skin- soft like moleskin”. When I returned visit after visit in pain the doctor never ever indicated what might possibly be the problem. Several other doctors also CYA’d for thier colleagues when I got consults- one even prescribed a Valium for the vagina. Not till I went to UCLA a year of excruciating pain later, did I learn I had mesh. So I disagree that a blackbox would make much difference. The products should be taken off the market- period or more people will be victimized.

    • barbara dykes says:

      I read all (both pros/cons) on the Mesh cases here. I am going on my 8th year of loss of quality of my life. I thought after I retired from nursing, I would go 300 miles to visit my family/grandchildren. Never in a million years would I have known so much how corrupt our society has become. It is criminal for these companies to continue to say ” GO GO GO, sign up all you can before we get caught. Erase all disks…J&J.Even after FDA warning which I saw on my original Implant Doctors wall AFTER the surgery when I was in for follow up. The only warning I got was “it may not always work but can be removed.”I don’t buy the “cookie” theory. I do not want millions of dollars like the senior leaders of J&J make. 8 million …nice. My beloved husband drove me out of state to a mesh removal expert only to find out after I was under sedation awaiting surgery that “I’m not sure how this will go but he also had recently gotten a degree in plastic surgery (FASC?) Since my lawyers sent a letter to request my removed mesh I found out from them this doctor put Boston Scientific mesh in me! So nothing changed for me. I was given a years worth of antibiotics by my Urologist. Sorry, I have written things before but this thread has me furious.I don’t buy the theory that these poor companies are broke….Just GREEDY

      • Hal Lewis says:

        Dear Barbara:

        They are not broke. I never said they were.

        But they WILL BE if they are required to pay billions of dollars that they don’t have.

        BANKRUPTCY does not mean a company is broke or out of money. It means that a company OWES more than it brings in. This is exactly what will happen if the multi-million dollar verdicts keep coming and coming.

        These companies are going to get hit HARD in their pocketbooks. They are going to be forced to the very brink of bankruptcy.

        But even if the give us every single loose penny they have… it doesn’t change the math.

        • Hal Lewis says:

          YES, these companies are GREEDY.

          That can probably be said for every company these days, since every company has a duty to maximize profits for their shareholders.

          It could probably be said all the way back to Rockefeller and Standard Oil.

          They are morally bankrupt — which seems to be quite common on Wall Street these days.

          But no matter how rotten they are… they have simply caused more damages than they can afford to pay.

          It isn’t fair. It’s life.

    • Me says:

      This is my opinion and only mine. ..I don’t think we should be attacking Mr. Lewis. He was just trying to explain things to those of us confused. I think if you want too attack someone attack your own lawyer. If those are your feelings then discuss it with your own. If mr. Lewis was my attorney I would go to him and direct my disapproval to him I would not do it to your lawyer because they are not the ones taking all my money. Just saying…mr. Lewis answered a lot of questions for some of us and because he did so there are people taking their anger out on him and that isn’t right. I happen to agree with all of you but we need to hold our own attorney accountable. I don’t know about all of you but if your not happy with the amount they take you should have kept looking for someone more reasonable. Just my opinion.

  2. sandy says:

    it just makes me cry to read this one day I went into surgery to get a minor problem fixed and I woke up with a nightmare that will never end without a good settlement I will be thrown into poverty I will lose a husband a family a life I knew and you have to tell me to just suck up and take whatever I can get no I think so I deserve to be compensated for what I’ve lost you can’t take my relationships and not have to to pay for them this is been a horrendous nightmare and many people can’t handle it unfortunately the victims have no choice but to live it out each day I guess they’ll just have to take out loans and whatever else but I think each one of us deserve to be paid fairly for their injuries I don’t want to hear about enough cookies to go around I think kms guard or whoever else needs to pay people what they deserve according to their injuries and if that means selling stock or whatever else they need to do it you have no right to throw me into the pit of hell and leave me there

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Sandy,

      I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, and I hope you understand that I am not in any way trying to minimize your tragedy. The problem, however, is that there are at least 99,999 other victims who have suffered the exact same tragic effects that you have. Therefore, the money just isn’t going to be there to make everyone feel “whole” again. Your comments about them taking out loans to pay all of the damages ignores all of the financial data that I reported and is sadly just not what happens in the business world. Eastern Airlines, RCA, Enron, MCI WorldCom, General Foods, Compaq, EF Hutton, Texaco, Trump. All of these were companies that everyone at the time thought would be around forever and could afford to get through any crisis. They all filed bankruptcy. If you think that these mesh manufacturers are somehow NOW going to do the right thing and stay out of bankruptcy just for the good of injured victims… you are giving them way too much credit. They have already shown that they don’t care about people like yourself by putting this crap on the market in the first place. If we give them a chance to avoid responsibility altogether by filing bankruptcy, they will do so in a New York minute.

      • Michelle says:

        Mr. Lewis,

        I appreciate your explanation, but have a few questions. The majority of us are looking at a lifetime of unpredictable costs, making it difficult to wrap our heads around a particular settlement amount. Since our insurance companies will be reimbursed BEFORE us for the costs they incurred from us trying to fix botched implants, wouldn’t they also be exempt from paying our future costs related to the problem? While I understand very well that I can never be adequately compensated for my loss of quality of life, accepting a small settlement, of say, $50,000 will not give me a dime by the time my attorney and insurance are paid. Not. One. Cent. So, I am leaning towards not settling, simply because I really have nothing to lose ! Now, regarding those future costs- you mentioned how settlements are taking future earnings of the corporations into account- is there a possibility that a portion of those future earnings continue to be spent on victims continuing, incurred medical expenses?

        One more quick question…my “local yokel” here in Iowa is working with four larger firms which are handling several thousand mesh cases total. I am being charged 40% plus expenses, which I was understanding was the typical contingency fee, not 33%. Would it be advisable to find a new attorney?

  3. sandy says:

    AMS or Bard or J&J

  4. Cindy Madrid says:

    I DO think that these companies should be driven to bankruptcy for not being careful enough. This attorney is more worried about being paid than letting injury continue. The victims cannot be made whole regardless so the thing to do is to hold corporations fully accountable for injuries. If their stock prices plunge, then that is what we would want. Victims will have to make do with medicaid etc. These companies cannot and will not make the victims whole.

    The FDA cannot and will not do it’s job so litigation is the only regulatory avenue for holding accountable and yes stopping more people from getting injured.

    Nothing is being done for hernia mesh injury, nothing. I am currently looking to get allergy tested for the mesh and I am having to make my own pathway to get this data. Allergy testing for the mesh should be routine and a default before surgery. As it stands, my surgery was supposed to take place at the end of January and here it is the middle of February and I chickened out. I have finally made an appointment with the surgeon’s PA to discuss these concerns and I am worried that my surgeon may fire me. Last time I talked to the surgeon, he said I would be climbing and pruning my trees in 6 months. I have a large incisional hernia that started out small and has grown.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Cindy,

      I will have another article soon that dispels your statement about attorneys “just wanting to get paid”… but take my word for it when I tell you that law firms like mine are NO MORE PEASED with having to settle these cases for a fraction of their worth than you are. Why would we be? Do you think I would rather have my client settle for $24,000 so that I can earn a fee of $80,000… or go try her case and get her $3,000,000 so that I can earn a fee of $1,000,000? Victims have to STOP thinking that their lawyers are now somehow the bad guys. Go read all of the reports about the trials that have taken place thus far and tell me how you think those trials would have turned out without lawyers fighting like hell for the victims.

      Everyone wants to complain about paying their lawyer a contingent fee… but without any such fee arrangement, NOBODY would be able to afford a lawyer by the hour to fight these cases… so NONE of these favorable verdicts would have ever occurred. If the bellwether plaintiffs had been forced to pay their attorneys on an hourly basis, they would have needed hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nobody has this kind of money to spend on lawyers — except corporations — so contingency fees were put into place in America to give individuals equal footing against those big companies. To now complain about them and attack the only people who are fighting FOR the victims just isn’t right.

      • Hal Lewis says:

        Correction to above:

        A zero got deleted in the example. It should read: “Do you think I would rather have my client settle for $240,000 so that I can earn a fee of $80,000

        • Charles says:

          Since the settlements are confidential is it possible for j&j to settle for 8 billion and bard for 1 billion? How would the discrepancy be recieved? Would the judge allow that? And what of all the state cases not in goodwins court? My wife had the mentor mesh and it is in new jersy mcl but j&j bought mentor so they are liable but where? When? How? Btw thanks for taking the time to explain your veiw of the settlements. I have done the numbers also and i agree with your assessment The teirs of injury is the saving grace here be cuase i believe there are serious injuries here but im afraid there is alot of fraud also I read the merck settlement and it seemed as fair as possible

          • Hal Lewis says:

            Dear Charles,

            Yes, it is absolutely possible that J&J will pay more to each of their victims than the other companies end up paying. J&J is much larger and has more money, so they won’t get to argue about bankruptcy until a much higher settlement number is reached. This goes back to what I mentioned in the article about two people with the same injury but one was hit by a Budweiser truck and the other was not. J&J will argue strenuously that they should only have to pay the same per victim that the others do, but there is no way this will happen. The MDL lawyers would never let this happen.

          • Hal Lewis says:

            Also, Charles, the global MDL settlements will absolutely NOT be confidential.

            Everything will be public and everyone will know exactly how much is involved.

      • Sandra says:

        I agree with you Hal!! People stop bashing your Attorney Firms. We hired them, they work so many hours, take time away from their families! They sacrifice their time for their victims if your not happy then find another!! Lawyer’s are not getting the whole lump sum, only 33% There maybe some small hidden cost but nothing to what our outcomes may be! If you all think taking your case to trial on an individual basis, good luck!! That could take another 3-5 years, with all sorts of costs that you don’t pay in an MDLS!! Stop blaming Doctors, Hospitals, the blame clearly goes to the MANUFACTURER and no one else.

  5. Aaron Leigh says:

    Hal;

    Can you tell us where this is happening? “So while they are publicly touting the safety of their products and publicly ridiculing the victims and their lawyers. . . ” Particularly, I’d like to know where the companies are publicly ridiculing victims. Can’t stay silent about that if there is somewhere I can go (online or otherwise) and have a voice.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Aaron,

      I was referring to the scorched earth tactics that the manufacturers are using at trial. Rather than coming in with any sense of sorrow, they are blaming the victims and trying to embarrass them by pointing out everything from their past. The manufacturers are out there filing paperwork in the MDL claiming that many of the lawsuits are fraudulent and that victims are lying. NOT ONCE have they ever said a thing about being sorry. Granted, defendants never apologize until a settlement is in place, but they could be taking a much more sensitive approach to this whole thing.

      On the other hand, juries thus far are punishing these companies appropriately… so clearly their “blame everyone but us” campaign is biting them in the butt!

  6. Ann says:

    Mr. Lewis,

    I wonder what you and the other lawyers think is a fair settlement? What do they think is fair for someone’s life to be ruined. Who cannot stand up without urine rushing out all over them. With being in pain all the time, not being able to have sex with your husband in years. If we settle for the $40,000.00 that some have what is left for us. By the time our lawyers get their fees Medicare gets paid back and some have to pay their insurance companies back. What does that leave us for future problems? I’m sure most of us know that we won’t get millions but honestly I believe $40,000. Is a slap in the face.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Ann,

      In all honesty, the only “fair” settlement in these cases will be the absolute maximum amount that each company can pay before they are $1 away from the brink of bankruptcy plus all of their insurance. There are teams of accountants and lawyers and financial gurus digging through the financier statements right now to determine exactly what that maximum amount is. Then, once there is a TOTAL settlement amount from a particular company, there will be a grid set up by which different levels of injury will be compensated differently. This is how it has been done in every MDL mass tort settlement in the past.

      I DO NOT THINK FOR A SECOND THAT ANYONE WHO HAS HAD MULTIPLE SURGICAL REVISIONS AND IS STILL HAVING PROBLEMS WILL BE FORCED TO SETTLE FOR $48,000.

      When you hear that the Endo/AMS settlement would come to $48,000 per victim, do NOT think that this is a set number that everyone will receive. Some people who have had mesh inserted but have never experienced a problem will get something much less than this. Some people who have had mesh inserted and had minor issue but no surgeries will get something a little higher. Some people who have had mesh inserted and one surgery will get a little more, etc., etc.

      This is the BIG QUESTION that NOBODY KNOWS right now: How many of the 100,000 claims filed to date fall into the “no injury” category vs. how many of the claims fall into the “terrible injury” category vs. how many fall into categories in between.

      This is what the MDL is trying to determine at this time. They are gathering information from every lawyer who has a case in order to get some idea of how the numbers will shake out.

      But YES, those victims who were injured the worst will get more from any global settlement than those who were not as affected.

      • zoggy says:

        Hal

        You sound like a good attorney. Do you represent women who want to sue their drs for negligence? Implanting a faulty device with no instructions or information given. My Dr who implanted my mesh closed up and relocated. The other surgeon revised and implanted another mfg mesh after the FDA warning Dec 2008. Should I and can you refer any attorneys that would represent me? I don’t want to jeopardize my MDL but I feel the surgeons are at fault with malpractice. I live in Columbus, Ohio. Thank you for your comments and support to us women. Not all lawyers are bad.

        • Jane Akre says:

          I personally respect any attorney who dares to speak directly to women in this dire situation…. so many do not. Thank you Hal Lewis!

        • Hal Lewis says:

          Dear Zoggy,

          Because I am not licensed to practice in Ohio, I would not be able to give you any legal advice concerning the laws up there surrounding medical malpractice lawsuits.

          What I can tell you, however, is that in most venues the victims can’t have it both ways. In other words… the product is either dangerous and the manufacturers didn’t warn properly… OR… the warning was adequate and therefore the doctor knew the risks (making him a “learned intermediary”) and the doctor screwed up by not getting informed consent from the patient. Logically, it has to be one or the other — either the doctor knew or he didn’t.

          So the only way to really say that a doctor was negligent for inserting mesh into a patient would be to PROVE that the doctor knew the mesh was dangerous and had been explicitly told this by the manufacturer. As we have seen from the trials to date, THE OPPOSITE is true. These doctors were all lied to by the mesh sales force. These doctors were all told that mesh was perfectly safe. These doctors were never given all the dangerous facts and the adverse studies that had been done in secret by the manufacturers.

          This was made very evident in the recent Budke case that J&J settled confidentially right before it went to a jury. Dr. Simpson repeatedly testified that she had no idea how bad mesh was for her patient, and she made it clear that she would NOT have used it if she had been properly informed by J&J. So while we will never know how the jury would have ruled, I think it is pretty clear that the jury would NOT have blamed a doctor for relying on the manufacturer’s promises.

          So off the top of my head, unless your doctor told you ALL of the horrible dangers of mesh BEFORE he inserted your mesh… he would not be found negligent because he was relying on fraudulent statements made by the manufacturer.

      • Ann says:

        Thank you Mr. Lewis. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.

      • Dawn says:

        Mr. Lewis,

        I have read all the above postings. I have a question. I took the time to research removal Dr.’s and procedures. Should I receive less in a settlement than another mesh victim that has had more revision surgeries? Just because I did my homework. I flew from Illinois to California .

        My head understands what you are saying. My body is furious! More than anything I want everyone from here forward to know the truths about mesh. THERE MUST BE A PRETEST TO SEE IF YOUR BODY CAN TOLERATE POLYPROPYLENE!!!

        At this point it seems obvious that the material is the main issue. Why do there have to be multiple trials over and over to keep stating the same fact? Polypropylene mesh is toxic to the human tissue. Why can’t the lawyers argue this along with the 510(k) process??

        What about just covering all mesh victims health insurance for life ?

        Especially now that the majority of us have autoimmune disorders caused by mesh.

        Thank you for your time and thoughts

        • Hal Lewis says:

          The flaw is with the FDA 510(k) clearance procedure.

          It basically relies on the outdated “honor system” in that it assumes companies are telling the truth about prior uses of certain products.

          That probably worked 30 years ago when companies had some sort of moral compass.

          Today, it just gives greedy corporations a way to circumvent the whole FDA inspection and approval process by lying.

          This is exactly what happened with Mesh.

          • Mesh Injured says:

            I don’t believe that an increase in the number of surgeries we go through is a measurable method of determining that one surgeon is more skilled than another. Someone who required 5 surgeries may have required 5 surgeries as a patient of your surgeons as well

  7. dc says:

    I get what this article is saying… And I have no doubt mesh victims are going to get screwed over one way or another. But, what I’d really like to know, is HOW THE HELL can they KEEP selling and using this crap given all the facts? WHY is this being allowed? And, HOW do we make them STOP!?! Personally, I have a hard time not hoping they all go belly up – even though this article makes it clear that is not a good thing. If we are all going to get screwed over anyway – why not watch them go down too?? They are criminals and should be treated as such.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Agreed… at the very least a black box warning on the mesh products so the public is no longer fooled!

      • Hal Lewis says:

        Jane is correct. Just like with cigarettes after our settlement with them in 1997, a Black Box warning should be required.

        Then, if a woman chooses to still use mesh, she will at least have been warned. I can’t imagine why anyone would, but it’s a free country and lots of people still smoke.

    • Diana Clark says:

      I had Monarc TOT removed June 2014 after 6 years of problems. Had to see Dr. Veronikis in St. Louis to get all but one piece out. He still places mesh after all these women from all over the US, go to him! He claims it is the experience of the doctor, not the product that causes problems. Arrogant little man. My mesh was cut,as I had several UTI’s in a row, and a cat scan showed stage 1 renal cell. Six months later after abdominal pain, stc., My ablated left kidney formed a urinoma, as the surgeon was unable to place a stent. The urethral junction was occluded due to the mesh migrating inside and pressing on the ureter. JP drain, and nephestromy tube, in the same day, three procedures later, and after having 2 tubes in my kidney for 3 long weeks, the kidney failed as it was onlyn7% functioning. I had it removed 9 months after the mesh had been cut. Now, I still have nerve damage, stress incontinence, and other problems. I am a active 52 yr old, and hope other women will not be persuaded as I was Dec. 08, to correct a problem that wasn’t really that big of a problem. I was my doctor’s forst “live” case! We found this out later. He actually took credit for finding my tumor! The cancer showed up 3 months after mesh placement.

  8. msm says:

    Thanks, Hal. Things are not always what they seem. Great explanation. I look forward to your next article.

    However, it would be nice if the person assigned to my case would return my call. I only request an update every eight weeks. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

    Just had to vent a little.

    Thanks again.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear msm,

      You absolutely, positively deserve an update on your case whenever you request one! Having said that, the update that you get may be that there is no new news to report… but your law firm should have no problem taking the time to tell you this!

      Quite frankly, any of you reading this should have already been told everything I said in my article by your own lawyer. It is their job to explain everything to their clients… even if the truth hurts.

      Then again, all of you who follow this website and read Jane’s wonderful articles are probably just as informed on how the bellwether trials are going as your attorney is.

  9. Paige says:

    Hal – thank you for writing such a logical and well thought out explanation. I know this is a very emotional subject for injured women but your explanation reminds me of a lightbulb commercial I saw recently that said “If you argue with math, you WILL lose.” Coming from a corporate background and being a business owner, I understand that none of us can pay our bills with “fair”. My greatest fear as I have watched the litigation is that the companies will be bankrupt and no one will get anything including the people who have already won their cases.

    I was a flight attendant for Continental when Eastern went bankrupt. We were owned by the same company and I remember vividly the day that Eastern flew their last flight. I was there when those people found out they had no jobs and their creditors found out they weren’t getting paid.

    I feel for the women who think that we are entitled to a huge settlement as if that will somehow make them whole. I understand the passionate anger that wants someone to pay for their pain. I understand the desire for justice. But you did a fantastic job explaining the reality of the situation and explaining Judge Goodwin’s statement that there are not going to be multi-million dollar settlements.

    I am so thankful for my attorneys and all those working on our behalf. Thank you for explaining that justice and fairness may be mutually exclusive when dealing with these huge numbers. I for one will be happy to see the cookies distributed judiciously and will have no problem with those of you who are working on our behalf being compensated for fighting for us.

    If I didn’t already have a great group of attorneys fighting for me – I would be contacting you. The truth may not be pleasant but I would rather hear it than have someone mislead me with fantasies of winning millions.

    It’s not like the lottery where the more people play, the higher the jackpot. It seems to me that the number of plaintiffs mount the chances of a settlement seem to get smaller and a bankrupt company gets bigger. I wish that everyone understood that bankrupting the companies means they don’t have any assets to pay settlements with.

    Jane – thank you for your tireless efforts to keep us informed. This was a fantastic piece and I wish that everyone would reread it and hear what Hal is telling us.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Paige,

      The brave women who have elected to serve as bellwether plaintiffs and have their entire private lives exposed for the whole world to see are indeed TRUE HEROES! And their attorneys are the best of the best. We are all very lucky to have them out there fighting for us and winning as often as they are.

      In the Vioxx MDL, the victims actually lost a majority of the bellwether trial, yet a $4.85 billion global settlement was still hammered out. Our trials are going MUCH BETTER than those did… so everything is in place for this to get done and get done soon.

      Just as a note: Merck is TEN TIMES larger than Bard or Endo/AMS… but only half the size of Johnson & Johnson. This is why I suspect that the eventual global settlement with J&J will be much larger than the ones with Bard, BSC and AMS.

      • Paige says:

        I had both AMS and Endo and my settlement is currently being negotiated with AMS – waiting to hear details on that one. No word of course from J and J but I imagine they are going to hold out because they are going to have to pay more than the others.

        I am definitely one of the luckier ones and one of those people who should be in the lower tiers. I was one of the early mesh guinea pigs but my doctor realized quickly that there was a problem. Mesh was put in in March of 2005 and taken out in October of the same year so I only had to deal with the pain for 8 months plus my recovery time from the second surgery. After nerve blocks and pelvic floor therapy failed, the same doctor who implanted the mesh removed it. He said that my insides looked like hamburger meat but because it was removed so quickly, I recovered and only occasionally have pain. I was out of work for a year and it was horrible so I cannot imagine the suffering of those women who didn’t get the stuff out.

        We hear the heartbreaking stories of the severely injured women and no one is arguing that they don’t deserve MUCH, MUCH more than I do. We rarely hear about women like me for whom the removal surgery worked and the pain was temporary. I didn’t deserve to be a guinea pig and shudder to think of going through that pain with no end in sight. I am so thankful that I got it out quickly and had two great surgeons who were able to stop the problem before it got worse. It was horrible for that year. We also must remember that there are many women who tolerated the mesh and have no record of any issues but who have been convinced to join in the litigation anyway. As I have been writing this, there were two commercials on TV for lawyers seeking vaginal mesh clients – funny thing is that they don’t say anything about being injured – just call if you’ve ever had mesh implanted.

        Of course we wish that they could move faster but the only way that the women who were severely injured to get an equitable share of this settlement when it comes is for the attorneys on both sides to carefully comb over our files and see what our injuries actually are.

        I completely agree with Hal – NONE of us would get anything for our pain if the attorneys weren’t willing to risk making NOTHING on our cases. I’ve had good communication with my attorney and know that they have been working on my behalf but if I get nothing, they will not be coming to me for payment. My attorneys have been working on my case for over three years and I’ve never given them a dime. That’s the beauty of contingency – they take the risk, bear the expense and fight on our behalf with no guarantee that they will ever make anything for their efforts.

  10. Becks says:

    Thanks, Hal Lewis. I think that what you have written is brutally honest as tragic as it sounds. I have a question: How does Boston Scientific stand financially; is it considered a smaller company as well? I’ve had 5 revisions and the nightmare still continues. I refuse to be bitter because I know there are far worse lots in life. I don’t mean to say that it doesn’t suck and it hasn’t taken a toll, but I know that becoming bitter will only destroy me in the end. I wish for everyone to get the help they need, and find a way to mend both physically and mentally. It is sad to see women losing their homes, their husbands… truly tragic.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Becks,

      Boston Scientific is about 150% the size of Bard and Endo. It has a market cap of $19 billion and brings in approximately $100 million a year in net income exclusive of accounting setoffs.

      It is nowhere near the size of J&J, but I still expect victims suing Boston Scientific to get a little bit better end result than those harmed by Bard or Endo.

      Also, everyone needs to keep in mind that the company who settles FIRST usually gets a small break for breaking from the ranks and coming clean. This was the case in our 1997 tobacco case when Liggett broke away from Big Tobacco and agreed to the very first tobacco settlement ever. It started the snowball rolling downhill.

      I am sure that Endo/AMS argued for the same sort of consideration at the negotiating table. And quite frankly, their agreement to settle IS IMPORTANT because it lets the whole world know that we are RIGHT and we are not just tilting at windmills with our lawsuits. Future jurors in future mesh cases read newspapers, so they know about these things… and that is crucial.

      • Hal Lewis says:

        EDIT to my comment above:

        BECKS: I typed that wrong. Boston Scientific brings in about $1 billion a year in net income.

        (I was reading my figures wrong and left out a zero)

        This is right in line: Endo bringing in $500 million a year / Bard bringing in $750 million a year / Boston Scientific bringing in $1 billion a year.

  11. msm says:

    “Hal Lewis says:

    February 10, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Also, Charles, the global MDL settlements will absolutely NOT be confidential.

    Everything will be public and everyone will know exactly how much is involved.”

    ————————————

    Hal, I was told that each settlement included a strict confidentiality clause and the company could get there money back if we disclosed the amount to anyone other than a spouse or financial adviser. Is that not true or am I more confused than usual?

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear msm,

      I am sorry for any confusion. I was referring to the global amounts, which are always public because these are publicly held companies that to report such things to shareholders and the SEC. Given that the number of cases filed against each defendant will also be public information, the “average” settlement amount per claim will be calculable for each defendant.

      His question was whether J&J’s global settlement could be confidential, so I was letting him know that this would not happen.

      It is entirely possible that each individual settlement is confidential, but most times those clauses are put into place to protect the privacy of the victims as well. It is a lot easier for someone to tell their nosy neighbor or expectant relative that they can’t talk about how much they received in their lawsuit if a confidentiality agreement is in place.

      But as I said earlier from looking back at former mass tort settlement, there will be a grid in place that lays out a general settlement range where each level of injury will fall. So while the specific amounts received by someone may be confidential, the payout grids are normally public information.

      • Charles says:

        Im sorry to be selfish but i do t understand. We are in a new jersey mcl against ethicon about mentor mesh. Mentor mesh was removed from the market amd found defective in 2005 i think Now mentor is in a different mdl in atlanta. Why are we in a newjersy mcl and what is the difference since j&j owns mentor now? If the fed trials settle does the new jersy mcl settle also or is all that seperate or what?

        • Hal Lewis says:

          I cannot give you a definite answer on that, but I can assure you that J&J is trying to settle ALL mesh claims at the same time.

          The last thing they want is to enter into a big settlement where the whole world knows their product was defective… and then still be facing trials over it.

  12. Sarah Zastrow says:

    so we can all go bankrupt but they shouldn’t. They took no thought before ruining our lives. They have insurance. Insurance companies are always loaded. This is just a ploy to scare us so we style for pennies. No I don’t want to lose my case but I don’t want to hand them an easy win while I still suffer. In the ends its many of us who have lost our careers family and lives. We have been blamed called crazy and forced to just settle for just being alive due to the injuries. I’m tired of feeling bad so let the CEOs feel it. They were reckless they put profit over patients and are still doing it. This article is saying just look the other way and just be satisfied we get something are you kidding me. Do you realize what J&J pays a day for advertising! They are just trying to blow a smoke cover over this, they will come out ahead you just st watch. Also you need to fracture in how bad people’s injuries are. Some people had a revision and are fine. Some people had poor health before they even had surgery. Each case is different we are not o w size fits all!

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Sarah,

      With all due respect, if you are not going to be happy unless Johnson & Johnson goes out of business… then I respectfully submit that you are setting an unrealistic goal.

      It is the 41st largest company in the World. They are going to survive this one way or another.

      And they may just decide to be the only company that DOESN’T settle. They may decide to let people line up and sue them every month for the next 40 years.

      But just be warned that it will cost everyone roughly $250,000 just to finance a winning case against a giant like this who is hiring ruthless lawyers and endless streams of expensive experts. Many people will win… but some will lose and get NOTHING.

      But no amount of complaining on our part is going to somehow turn these corporations into sympathetic creatures who now care about doing the right thing.

  13. Mesh Injured says:

    well… they could trim their budget by a few billion if the stop running television ads for untested drugs! LOL Just making a little joke

  14. joyce says:

    Hal,

    You are correct to a point and everyone needs to understand the accounting side of a business.

    1. They need to run.

    2 If they do not continue to run a business NO ONE WILL RECOUP anything.

    3. If they file bankruptcy no one gets paid not even the attorney’s, insurance, taxes nor feds.

    4. Nothing or no amount of money are going to get the financial side of my life back at this point.

    5. Nothing or no one is going to take what life I have left no matter how bad I feel today. I WILL NOT LET ANYONE TAKE THAT WAY AGAIN!!

    I understand that the attorney’s need to be paid. And I am greatful to mine for the hardwork the staff is doing. But 40 percent plus expense from every client with a mass tort like this one, why can’t the attorney’s lower the percentage and the expenses.

    Why do I have to pay the insurance back for this. We paid our premiums and my Deductible (12,000 yearly). Are the employers going to start to ask for their portion of what they paid out too.

    I don’t want to be greedy but I would not of had precancer colon polyps at 42 (none in my family) if it was not for this crap.

    I would be dead if it was not for me getting as sick as I did. Hospital giving me cancer rx and told me to go to a gastro immediately.

    Colonoscopy every 2 years is 3000 × 10 is 30,000 that I have to pay at least for the next 20 years. And that is being no price increases.

    By what the reports are stating 40,000 will not even cover the Colonoscopy.

    What about other medical expenses?

    It is not anyone’s fault but the manufacturers that thought this was a quick buck from a piece of plastic.

    just my opinion.

  15. Lisa Meister says:

    Hal,

    I cannot thank you enough for your article and compassionate explanations. You have cleared up my incredible confusion in this whole thing. God bless you for helping us in this fight.

  16. Mesh Injured says:

    There is still one glaring question. How can we pay for the medical care that we need now and for future developmens? If settlement is only for pain and suffering, knowing that there is no adequate value for that, but lets say we take it. There is the issue of medical care. We will no longer be able to submit insurance claims (for those fortunate enough to still have medical insurance). You have a good argument if settlement doesn’t in effect shut off medical care. I know it’s a crazy idea, but maybe the pharma’s take care of pain and suffering and the FDA fund medical care. In some cases med- mal needs to contribute to this… care fund. We need to think creatively right? Why does that have to equate to the injured sustaining further injury? Or… change the settlement so that we can obtain or continue filing medical claims. This is an extraordinary problem that needs extraordinary measures. Not at our expense any more.

    • msm says:

      I was told by my attorney’s office that health insurance coverage for future mesh issues would not be affected by a settlement. The reason is that the company does not admit liability as if there is nothing wrong with the product itself. So it is similar to having a hip replaced and there was nothing wrong with the parts but the patient had a bad outcome which was a risk of the surgery itself. The insurance pays for treatment to fix the problems that arise in the future.

      How is the reimbursement of payments made by insurance companies for treatment prior to a settlement justified? Because that is what the law says. Who passed the law? Our elected officials.

      Bottom line, future coverage is not supposed to be affected. Check with your attorney. ( If you can get them to communicate with you.)

      • Hal Lewis says:

        Correct, future coverage is not supposed to be affected.

        This is also mainly because any settlement will not “make whole” any victim.

        In some cases where a victim goes to trial and a jury awards that victim a certain amount of money intended to cover ALL of their future mesh-related injuries, then a health insurance company can argue that the victim has already recovered the money intended to treat those future incidents. In other words, the jury “made the victim whole” by awarding 100% of their damages. In those situation, it makes some sense as to why a health insurance company shouldn’t have to pay for treatment that the victim was already given money to cover.

        But in settlements, all of this goes out the window. No settlement has ever been legally found to make a victim whole, since the whole concept of a settlement is that both sides made some sort of compromise. Thus, there is no legal finding of the victim having recovered anything for future medical treatment, so health insurance is still responsible for covering any future mesh-related treatment.

        This is another benefit of settling vs. going to trial.

  17. David says:

    To quote William Wallace from the movie Braveheart: “Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!”

    Fight –don’t give in and you may (shortsightedly) think that you will not find satisfaction. Or settle and you may get something. But remember, as you already know, money comes and money goes. Knowingly “sacrifice for the good of [your] group…” today, but with the understanding that you will “rob Peter [of his/her freedom tomorrow] to pay…” yourself (as you are “…Paul” too).…So the next “Paul” (who you once were) can then rob “Peter” (the person you will never again be) of his/her freedom…to then perhaps pay the next industry mesh victim (as there are no guaranties…lawsuits are risky and because the medical device industry continues to erode the laws, the next mesh victim may not be as “lucky” as you – to be offered this projected small amount of financial compensation at all).

    With regards to where this “future expected cash flow is going to…” come from to “…make up a very large portion of any settlement…,” entertain no illusions, it will and can only again come from the mesh industry’s victimization of more future unsuspecting patients. How else did and will this industry continue to make its money? As its surgical mesh devices are now understood in U.S. Courts to be defectively designed, how can this industry even continue to still sell its “SE” devices – to now get its “blood profits” to pay off its injuries to current patients – without informing future patients of this danger?

    “Life isn’t fair”; this is true…But think about “the big picture”: your children and your children’s children and the treatment alternatives left for them and/or future generations of patients – to be deceitfully encouraged by surgeons, to have the next, regurgitated generation of mesh permanently implanted into their bodies too….Because there will be no surgeons left to put a patient’s needs before a manufacturer’s and surgeon’s own (and none to speak a word contrary to this fact!). Do not be hasty and give away the promise of tomorrow to sacrifice the opportunity of today.

    “Dying in your beds” (or left there, by this industry, to live out what your life was) “many years from now, […were] you […] willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for [this] one chance, to […now show these mesh manufacturer predators] that they may […have taken what once was] our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM” to change their future: the means to their profits?

    Your life will never be the same, that is and will be your burden. But be sure what you are giving up is not your chance to have benefited “…the good of the group as a whole” – the next group of unsuspecting future patients slated to be predatorily targeted by this industry. Make your own choice if “we need these companies to keep generating income that can be used to pay out [your claim]….There can be no mistake now in how they plan to get their money to pay you off. The power is collectively NOW in your voice to change the future, for the betterment not demise of humanity.

    When does the exploitation of unsuspecting patients end if not at the threshold of today?

    – If it were my choice between “a pound of flesh” today or the promise of chump change tomorrow, I, like the mesh manufacturer perpetrator, would dine on “a pound of flesh” everyday of the week…And, in so doing, also then have the memory of this “feast” to take with me when I close my eyes too for the last time.

    …“Billions and Bankruptcy”…What to do with “several warehouses full of […] mesh? Repackage it into “black boxes” and send it to the FDA (adequate labeled, of course, to responsibly warn of its danger)…Or melt it down into resin pellets and spit it back these mesh manufacturers (probably not a good idea to give it back since they will probably just try to recycle it into more “new” mesh devices when they come out of bankruptcy).

  18. Mesh Injured says:

    Mr. Lewis,

    I have been told by more than 4 medical professionals who have “interviewed” me (and declined) to take me as a patient. I have had even more attourneys decline my case for med-mal. I had one attourney tell me that it’s too much work, too much money (expense), and no one wins against med-mal insurance. What they ALL did do is spend an hour (each) of my life telling me that I have a case and that I need to be suing the implanting dr. and mesh manufacturer. Ironic isn’t it? Unfortunately, my implant was years before there were warnings and/or information anywhere about mesh. By the time we figured out that the first, then the second, and eventually 8 extraction surgeries still would not be the end of it all, statute had long run out. Even if I ever could have found a firm willing to fight for me.Yet I read about women who are filing med-mal cases. Early on, I felt it was more important to have dr.s willing to treat me than it was to spend what little energy I had trying to sue. My question is.. how are some able to sue the dr. 8 or more years after implant?

    thank you

  19. I suppose if someone was driveing a car and was speeding, and knowing it is wrong , and they ran intk your family car crippling one of your family members……….life isnt fare is your answer….they knew after the first reports came in .

  20. They. Knew …The company that sold them the plastic told them NOT TO BE IMPLANTED IN HUMANS.And look at all that they tried to hide in court.THERE are a lot of the company people that should be going to PRISON.

  21. Jane says:

    Don’t the companies have liability insurance that covers damages and lawsuits?

    I would think they would have to have something in place. It should be no

    different than any other business in the country.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      There is insurance but nowhere near the large amounts we are talking about.

      The general rule in insurance is that they will not sell you more than you NEED.

      In other words, a person driving a $5,000 car cannot insure it for $90,000. And a person who only has $20,000 in assets to his name does not need to insure himself for $1 million in the event he causes an accident.

      This is just not how it works.

      IN FAIRNESS, ASK YOURSELF THE SAME QUESTION: You drive a car, so it is entirely possible that tomorrow you could accidentally cause a car wreck in which an entire family is killed in the other vehicle. That would mean that you would be legally responsible for $20 million in damages. SO DO YOU CARRY $20 MILLION IN CAR INSURANCE?

      No. Nobody does. Because that’s not how it works. You can only buy insurance for what you are worth — not what you might have to pay.

  22. Cindy Madrid says:

    Sorry, I did not mean for the attorney to be defensive. The point that I am trying to make is that NO amount of money can make these injuries whole. The point I am trying to make is that these lawsuits are the ONLY means of regulation for this mesh implant as our government agencies have been gutted of funding and authority. Hence, if the mesh is injurious, it has to be taken off the market. Some precautions need to be applied at least. When your surgeon looks you in the eye and tells you that everything is going to be hunky dory and you will be whole again, that illustrates the lack of candor and regulation before the fact.

    Your complaints need to be taken to your state’s Democratic Attorney General. This attorney may consider offering to help a state Attorney General’s office (only Democratic AG’s) prosecute these class actions state by state. Republican AG’s will not take it up.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Hear, Hear! Yes, Cindy, the courtroom will only deal with monetary compensation. Changes to the law and the FDA will require all of us to bombard them with letters and horror stories.

      Or HOPEFULLY as part of any mass settlement they will agree to make changes in warning labeling and production!!

  23. stopmeshimplants says:

    Thank you Hal. This is nothing I want to read and understand but it explains everthing I need to know. As I sit here reading these comments I feel the shooting pain in my hip going down my leg. I understand that after all of my surgeries no amount of money is going to make me whole. I shudder to think that these executives who made these god awful decisions will lose nothing and that makes me madder than hell.

    I appreciate your coming here to explain knowing full well we are angry and we are looking for answers that will benefit us not hurt us. The sad reality in all of this is we are hurt and even with these settlements we will not get the resolve we are hoping for. That is a huge let down.

    I would feel better if I knew somewhere, somehow these executives will face criminal charges. They knew what they were doing and they did it because of greed. End of story. Thanks again for your expertise and you empathy.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-dimond/why-dont-corporate-execut_b_4612466.html

      Here is a recent article that echoes your sentiments. All of us wonder why these corporate executives never have to face jail time. It’s truly sad.

      But we are only dealing with the CIVIL justice side of these cases in our arena. The CRIMINAL part would need involvement from the Justice Department. Nothing we can do in the MDL settlement or in a lawsuit verdict can put anyone in jail. I sure we could!

      • stopmeshimplants says:

        So the agents of the companies committed the crime and will continue to spend their billions of compensation……

        Something is terribly wrong with how this will end for all of us who have suffered and continue to suffer from mesh. One glaring fact that we really don’t talk about are all the people who have mesh who have not yet experienced any symptoms. It took me over seven years before I realized all of my issues were related to the mesh. I convinced myself it was a groin issue, bleeding was menopausal, sex was awful and my ongoing pain issues I attributed to the aging process. Then I could not stand without support and pain medications did not seem to help. By then the mesh sling had attached itself to my pelvic bone and had to be scraped off in one of my three surgeries. The nerve damage is permanent. I still have mesh that cannot be removed. What will happen to all those people who have no idea what they are in for? I cannot believe this is how it will end for all of us. Just sad…..

  24. Miss Mesh says:

    I don’t understand why these companies are aloud to hide the fact that they destroyed their records and that they have pulled products from the market. The jury is not being given the full picture. This is so unfair to the plaintiffs.

    • Jane Akre says:

      There is so much that is not allowed in court – destruction of documents, the huge number of lawsuits, the 510(k) approval process of the FDA, the fact that some meshes have been found to be defectively designed and generally keeping plaintiffs within the 40-60 age range with a typical adverse event outcome. We know there are women outside of those ages who have had horrendous near-death outcomes, and death itself as well as a high number of women autoimmune issues is an area that is not even being addressed…. I guess each trial would take two months rather than two weeks if all of this info was allowed, but it sure is relevant…. agreed. Court is always aimed at giving both sides a fair shot, even when one side doesn’t deserve it, in my opinion.

      • Thank you for all the time & effort you have put into this since yesterday Mr. Lewis . I’m sure you have done this to help us get a better perception as to what is going on & what we can expect . I would be happy to have a models figure & everything in my life be like it use to be BEFORE MESH !! That’s not gonna happen & life isn’t a fairy tale . Your honesty & Jane Acres coverage is a blessing to us or at least to me . I’m sure you have not received a dime yo come on this site & attempt to help us with questions & answers . This in my opinion is very kind of you Sir. I have to say that no matter what any of us feel about all the mesh companies the harm is done . We must attempt to do the best we can with what we have left to do with . I don’t even know why I am saying this after all my family & I have have been through . It is what it is & it’s not your fault . Your comments have been very well taken & appreciated . Thank you for the follow ups also Sir & for caring enough about us to keep us informed to the best of your ability . We have no choice but do as you said would be in our best interest & that’s to trust our attorneys. They are not our enemies & after all these years & four operations later I would just to get this part of mesh behind me. To settle would at least keep us off of watching the headlines & up dates of what is going on because it would be over . Granted it’s bit what any of us have hoped & prayed for but we need some sort of closure to this . The settlement would help me be able to get the procedures I’m in need if at this time done . We have certainly borrowed from Peter to pay Paul & can’t continue to do this. Thanks again for you time and up dates !!

  25. Mary says:

    Hal where else did you publish your” article”? What made you chose us? I’m just wondering ? I didn’t say 10 I said thousands and I not only don’t think it’s fair” I believe it’s wrong! Just my perception.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Mary,

      I didn’t publish the article anywhere else. I wrote it specifically for this website because I have been following Jane’s great work for months and wanted to help educate everyone. As I mentioned, our firm has been sharing this information with our clients all along, but it sounded to me from reading past comments on Jane’s website that many folks had not been getting full disclosure from the lawyers.

      And I apologize that I cannot determine what other comment of mine you are referring with the 10 vs 1000. But if you are talking again about certain attorneys making a lot of money because they represent a lot of victims… I just don’t see how that is relevant in an openly capitalist free market society.

      Each individual can only control their own individual case. Wanting to pay your attorney less just because he is also making money on other cases just doesn’t make sense. What your lawyer is doing with his time when he is not working on your case is just immaterial.

      When my teenage son opened a lawn care business, he had 5 customers in our neighborhood and charged them all $25. Over time, he grew his business and eventually had 100 customers. The price was still $25. None of his customers tried to justify now paying only $10 just because he had more clients and therefore more overall income. They knew that they were either going to pay him $25 or someone else $25… but regardless, it was going to cost them $25 to get their lawn mowed.

    • Mary says:

      Hal I’m sorry I just feel at that point attys should put their clients need first.knowing that they have that many clients they should make adjustments accordingly. Your sons clients weren’t mutilated for life sir. I don’t know how they could allow that to happen and sleep at night. This is legal but even manufacturers give quantity discounts! It may be legal but what about morally! My conscience wouldn’t allow it. I always made lots of money but I always saw the needs of my extended family who weren’t as blessed as I was.

      Hal I never worried about later because I knew I could work and easily replace what I had given. Then this mesh stopped me in my tracks This is wrong and for anyone involved in this litigation process to end up with an over abundance at our expense is just unconscionable !

      • Hal Lewis says:

        Dear Mary,

        Every mesh victim would gladly pay $50,000 to any doctor who could surgically remove their mesh entirely and make them 100% healthy and free from any future symptoms of side effects. There would be a line of victims a mile long outside of this doctor’s office… and everyone would be overjoyed and so happy to give him their $50,000.

        If you waited in line for weeks and then was finally your turn to have your procedure done…

        would you say, “I don’t think it is fair that you are charging me your normal going rate… because you are making a lot of money from other patients… so I am going to now view you in a negative light and complain about your services?”

        I don’t think so.

        I understand that people may not like seeing other people make a lot of money… but that’s really not something we have any control over in life.

        I don’t like seeing 22-year-old kids who never finished college make $15 million a year by chasing a basketball or football around… and I don’t think it is fair… but it really isn’t any of my business.

  26. David says:

    On May 29, 2012 the (2007) Ethicon/J&J DVD: The Benefits of Lightweight Meshes in Ventral Hernia Repair was sent to Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice; Kathleen Sebelius, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; and the President of the United States Barack Obama.

    What this DVD evidences, in my opinion, is a crime being perpetrated against humanity,* as defined under Article 7.1 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

    These crimes against humanity are being “committed as part of a widespread […] systematic attack directed against [unsuspecting populations of patients = patients not legally informed of risks], with [the surgical mesh industry’s, FDA’s and high-ranking officials in the U.S. Federal Government’s] knowledge of the attack”. And, in the “course of [this industry’s criminal] conduct, […] multiple [commissions] of” “inhumane acts” of “torture,” “intentionally causing great suffering, […and] serious injury to body […] mental […and] physical health”. Via the manufacturer and leading industry physicians’ societal formed control, these crimes are being deceptively instigated –per their own self-serving guidelines–with their own self-promoted standard of care = premeditated patient abuse + the ensuing harm which blatantly disregarded individual patient need.

    These crimes against humanity are currently being covertly carried out systematically in clinical practice, as a widespread attack, by the physician perpetrator which the industry (I believe) knowingly indoctrinated in the medical schools to carryout its intent. The resulting regressive surgeon mindset, also then served to fulfill that industry indoctrinated surgeon’s own best, self-serving, risk-disproportionate, heightened efficacy self-gratification –with surgeon’s own commingled intent (I believe): to knowingly be unjustly enriched financially, in professional status, or intellectually stimulated off this very avoidable pain and suffering which is being deceptively inflicted upon their fellow human beings (as this patient harm occurs as the direct result of not training a surgeon to competently put their patient’s need before their own gross regressions).

    This industry instigated standard of care, therefore, functions to absolve the individual surgeon perpetrator from malpractice liability –so that upon their habitual undermining of their patient’s rights (knowing or unknowing but unavoidably with negligence) –they can continue to carryout, own and the industry’s best practice of one-sided medicine.

    *http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CEAQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F 2Flegal.un.org%2Ficc%2Fstatute%2Fenglish%2Frome_statute%2528e%2529.pdf&ei=NKW2VJKaJ4n8yQT0ioFw&usg=AFQjCNHfyhVBQfNM1HkItGfG6X2WJkBSPw&bvm=bv.83640239,d.a

    • David says:

      …WHEN WILL the U.S. Federal Government take the appropriate legal action to protect its citizens –the People from being further deceptively, predatorily targeted by both domestic and transnational medical device manufacturer predators, marketing their risky/dangerous, long-term/permanently implantable medical device in the U.S., through their use and control over: “the physician learned intermediary” perpetrator?????

      • Hal Lewis says:

        Dear David,

        Honestly, and this is just my opinion, but the answer is probably NEVER as long as corporations are allowed to have as much power as they do in our political system. Once the US Supreme Court decided “Citizens United v. FEC” and ruled that corporations could make UNLIMITED political expenditures… the little people of the country became irrelevant. One huge corporation can now essentially buy a politician’s way into office — so us expecting that politician to later pass laws that go against those big corporations is useless.

        • David says:

          Dear Hal,

          I choose to believe that the world can be different…not because I am in denial of the way things currently are…but because I believe that by taking things apart, you can put them back together, in your vision of the way things should be. That, of course, is only my opinion too.

        • Jane Akre says:

          You may hear the term “Citizens United” in many contexts but it is so relevant here, it was a turning point of our country and many are working to try and have it reversed……thank you for the reminder.

  27. Jackie says:

    ok my BIG QUESTIONS is are they seriously trying to say these big companies DINT HAVE insurance to cover these lawsuits?! Why is this fact eluding acknowledgment?!

    As if all these funds would be paid out of mesh companies liquid assets? I don’t think so!

    • Jane Akre says:

      Hi Jackie- I believe the point has been made that the insurance coverage by these firms is not enough to run into the billions of losses. Why not is a good question.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Jackie,

      Please scroll up a few comments and you will see my explanation of how insurance works.

      When purchasing insurance, you do not buy enough insurance to cover the damages you might cause…because anyone in America can foreseeably cause tens of millions of dollars in damages at any time. Anyone driving a car could accidentally cause $100,000,000 in damages by mistakenly running one stop sign and killing a whole school bus full of kids. Under that logic, every one of us should morally carry $100,000,000 in car insurance. But NOBODY does. That just isn’t how insurance works.

      Insurance is not about how much damage you can do. It’s about how much you are worth and how much you can afford.

      There is NO COMPANY in the world that carries anything close to $1 billion in insurance… and there is no insurance company that could afford to guarantee that risk.

      In fact… a lot of large companies are just self-insured. They figure that they can save the money they would spend every year on premiums and use it whenever the need arises.

      I go back once again to my main point: The high volume of victims and the severity of their damages makes this situation too large to solve under any normal procedure.

      If we were talking about 100 victims, it would be no problem.

      If we were talking about claims of $10,000 per victim, it would be no problem.

      But when we are talking about 100,000 people with $2 million claims… we run into 200 billion problems.

      • Mesh Injured says:

        this is why the phone scam is so interesting. who benefits most by having as long a list of people willing to say (or even lie) that they are a victim? The longer the list gets, the easier it is to say there is no way they can afford to pay.

      • Disgusted says:

        Yes this is true, especially if you don’t have assets. I’ve been told by insurance companies many times now that we need umbrella coverage. This is in case someone goes after your estate if your car insurance is not enough. You can lose everything. It is not right that the corporations are protected and we cannot go after their personal assets. No need of adequate coverage. The laws do need to be changed. Greed has run amok. As Mr. Lewis has pointed out, the moral compass has changed over the last 30 years. That is the heart of the problems we are seeing at every level in this country. This is why we need to change the laws. I don’t think the manufacturer’s thought there would be this many lawsuits. They knew ahead of time there would be some and I’m sure they calculated and set aside an amount to cover that. They knew some would be hurt. But the profits were so alluring, and could rationalize “they’re helping more than hurting”. Not everyone reacts this way. They stepped over the lines knowing they would not be held personally responsible. They also did not expect to go bankrupt. They also need to be held accountable to set up a fund for future injured persons. The FDA has not warned about SUI mesh as of yet. I believe at this point they outnumber the POP lawsuits. I don’t see how, even if they settle all at once, they can avoid future lawsuits of new plaintiffs. These non-disclosure statements should be illegal. It completely ignores the damages done to individuals and allows the companies to do “business as usual”. I know practically speaking it is shooting ourselves in the foot. Life definitely isn’t fair!

  28. Me says:

    Dear Hal,

    Why can’t we go after the FDA for allowing this product through based on a failed recalled product. Isn’t it negligence on thier part as well? How long after the implant can you go after the Dr. In the state of Mi?

  29. Hal Lewis says:

    Dear Me,

    Governmental agencies are protected by what is known as sovereign immunity for planning level decisions. In laymen’s terms, you can’t ever use hindsight to sue the government for making a wrong decision. Otherwise governmental agencies would be too scared to ever act at all.

    Michigan has a 2-years statute of limitations on medical malpractice actions. But as I mentioned in a comment somewhere higher up in this thread:

    In most venues the victims can’t have it both ways. In other words… the product is either dangerous and the manufacturers didn’t warn properly… OR… the warning was adequate and therefore the doctor knew the risks (making him a “learned intermediary”) and the doctor screwed up by not getting informed consent from the patient. Logically, it has to be one or the other — either the doctor knew or he didn’t.

    So the only way to really say that a doctor was negligent for inserting mesh into a patient would be to PROVE that the doctor knew the mesh was dangerous and had been explicitly told this by the manufacturer. As we have seen from the trials to date, THE OPPOSITE is true. These doctors were all lied to by the mesh sales force. These doctors were all told that mesh was perfectly safe. These doctors were never given all the dangerous facts and the adverse studies that had been done in secret by the manufacturers.

    This was made very evident in the recent Budke case that J&J settled confidentially right before it went to a jury. Dr. Simpson repeatedly testified that she had no idea how bad mesh was for her patient, and she made it clear that she would NOT have used it if she had been properly informed by J&J. So while we will never know how the jury would have ruled, I think it is pretty clear that the jury would NOT have blamed a doctor for relying on the manufacturer’s promises.

    So off the top of my head, unless your doctor told you ALL of the horrible dangers of mesh BEFORE he inserted your mesh… he would not be found negligent because he was relying on fraudulent statements made by the manufacturer.

    • Me says:

      Dear Hal,

      Thank you for your explanation. I am just so frustrated that the FDA could make such a careless decision and then blatantly turn thier back on fixing thier mistake by not reclassifying this mesh so that others would not get hurt….also I would like to add something to your comments above…correct me if I’m wrong, but even if we were to reject the settlement offer and go to trial and win, they would appeal over and over and it could be years if ever we were awarded anyways…

      I would like to think Jane for all of your compassion and hard work in keeping us informed at our darkest hour my life will never be the same, I was only 40 years old when they put this evil thing in my body it has changed my life and I can never get that back no amount of money will ever change that, but my heart breaks even more knowing that even with their settlement I will continue to suffer financially physically and mentally and because of Boston Scientific and to have my financial worries confirmed by Mr. Lewis is devastating.

      Sincerely

      Just “me”

  30. Lara says:

    I understand what you are saying Hal. I have followed the trials, the entire mesh debacle across the world and the ongoing marketing and sales of NEWER versions of pelvic mesh. The settlements and the trials are only one tiny part of the end goal. To me the ONLY logical and necessary outcome would be the banning of pelvic mesh – period. This means new versions of pelvic mesh are banned, current mesh taken off the market WORLDWIDE, not just USA ( I live in New Zealand) and mesg sales frozen, stopped, banned, discontinued or whatever word you want to use. In other words NO MORE PELVIC MESH ANYWHERE. That, to me, is the ONLY satisfactory resolution to this whole sorry mess. There needs to be a legislative directive by governments all over the world that ‘inserting ANY TYPE of pelvic mesh is a fundamental breach of a duty of care to a female patient by a surgeon. That inserting pelvic mesh of any kind or description is seen as a GROSSLY NEGLIGENT action – even criminally negligent. The punishment should be JAIL time. So lets make it a statutory crime in other words. Only then will all these women who have been grossly disfigured internally and maimed for life, will be satisfied. the pelvic mesh debacle is the largest, long term criminally negligent assault on a female body that i have ever seen anywhere. They may as well have taken their scalpels and cut us all up inside and sewed us back up and said “right there you go dearie, now go away, thats a good girl”. Its a CASTRATION of women too. A castration of women – worldwide, as well as an assault on our bladders, bowels, urethra’s and vaginas…..If this was happening to men there would have been decisive legislative action by now.

  31. Hal Lewis says:

    Dear Lara,

    I understand where you are coming from. I just hope that everyone understands that the American civil justice system is not the place where all of these outcomes can be achieved. Our civil justice system is only set up to deal with compensating the victims. All of your other goals, as worthy as they are, will have to be attained through some other method.

    Hopefully, once a global settlement is put in place, doctors will realize that they are now held to have KNOWLEDGE of the harm mesh can cause — which makes them liable if they are stupid enough to keep using it in the future.

  32. Dawn says:

    ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE OR HAVE HAD MESH IN THEIR BODIES KNOW THE PAIN … I gave birth naturally to 3 almost 10 pound babies. I rate the pain level right up there , but at least with birth I got breaks between contractions and I got to go home with 3 beautiful baby boys….

    A HOLACAUST MADE BY THOSE THAT ARE SUPPOSE TO HEAL…greed

    They will face the true judgment one day , I would hate to be them

    • Hal Lewis says:

      YES DAWN!

      That is what we all need to remember. The guilty parties will get what they deserve in the end. They will have to face judgment day with a very guilty conscience… and I don’t like their chances of getting through the pearly gates!

  33. msm says:

    Hal, is it true that if the FDA had approved these mesh devices and later the mesh was found to be defective and harmful that the FDA would be immune from liability? Is that why they are so quick to clear rather than approve? They assume no responsibility and the product still goes to market keeping manufacturers happy.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear MSM,

      The FDA is immune from liability, so we as a nation always have to trust that they are getting it right. When they make a mistake, we all suffer.

      But again, when a product goes through the FDA “approval” procedure… it goes through a very extensive series of trials and inspections.

      The problem with Mesh is that the manufacturers were less than honest with the FDA… so it only had to go through the 510(k) FDA “clearance” procedure. This is basically nothing.

      But to answer your question: NO, the fear of being sued for making a mistake never enters into the equation when dealing with the FDA. They are immune.

      The “fear of being sued” is what is SUPPOSED to keep companies from lying to the FDA and then having their products kill people. But apparently in this day and age, corporations live by the adage: “Act first, ask for permission later.”

      • Hal Lewis says:

        ON THE OTHER HAND….

        we as a group of victims are in a MUCH BETTER PLACE in our litigation than we would be if the FDA had done all of their tests and given Mesh a full seal of “approval.”

        It is very hard to convince a jury that a company should be punished for selling a product that has been tested repeatedly by the FDA and examined thoroughly by the FDA and approved with flying colors by the FDA.

        Think of how much of an uphill climb we would be facing in trial if Johnson & Johnson was able to tell a jury:

        “Ladies and gentlemen, not only did our esteemed team of researchers and doctors work for years to make sure that this mesh was safe for the general public… we turned everything over to the Federal Government and let THEM test it independently… and after all of that, the FDA AGREED that mesh was perfectly safe to put on the market. How now can J&J be found ‘negligent’ for simply following the law and getting a ‘thumbs up’ from the US Government?”

        THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN OUR WORST NIGHTMARE.

        So while I would like to think that the FDA would have banned mesh if the manufacturers had been required to put it through the rigorous approval process…

        WHAT IF THE FDA HAD GOTTEN IT WRONG? It happens. The FDA would be immune, and the mesh manufacturers would be essentially shielded.

  34. Me says:

    Why have they not brought up at trial that Boston Scientific knew that the mesh was faulty because they had just had issue with it? Why is the judge not allowing some of this vital information that shows these companies did these awful things to us knowing full well it wasn’t right.

  35. Diane Elliott says:

    Mr. Lewis, I would like to know why autoimune disorders due to the poisonous chemicals leaching into our bodies was never addressed in the courts? Thank you for all the information .

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear Diane,

      The reason autoimmune diseases have not yet been addressed in the trials is because the plaintiff’s MDL group is trying their most obvious cases first. In other words, if we want to win the bellwether trials (which we do), we need those cases to be straightforward cases that a jury can understand. The strategy is working thus far.

      This does not mean that autoimmune disorders and symptoms are being ignored. Polyproylene is BAD for the human body and the settlement will take that into account. Very reminiscent of early silicone breast implant litigation.

  36. Charles says:

    The mesh material should be abandoned now. I know there must be other material that cam be fashioned into mesh that is compatible with human tissue The concept of mesh for support of organs is a good and valuable idea but the mesh cant cause more harm than good. That being said i would love to invest in a company devoted to developing a mesh that works

  37. ANA says:

    I am 57 years old womanwith two J&J mesh implant one in 2004 and one in 2011 After the first one which did not work I was told by the doctor that it would be reomoved and replaced. The second one they puncture the left side of my bladder now, I just had injection on the left side of my hip because the pain is so bad that I can’t even walk up steps. I found out the first mesh was never removed thru my lawyers office, after they got my surgecal report. So when my case manager tell me that its a hard case because doctors are not reporting that my problem are related to the mesh implants. You could understand why I’am angry, the doctors don’t seem know all they should about mesh related problems, just like they never warned me abaut all the problem that I would have live with. including not telling me that they would be unable to remove the first one. now I live with two I&J mesh implanted in my body.

    I do thank you for all time and information, and I hope that every honest women get her fair amount for their suffering.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear ANA,

      You definitely have a good case, but you may eventually have to find a friendly doctor to examine you and review your records and make a direct link to the mesh. A lot of victims are in your shoes because a lot of doctors had no idea what was causing all of these problems for years. Do not give up and talk to your lawyers about the need for a second opinion from a doctor who knows all about mesh and the problems it causes.

      • Ana says:

        Thank you for your advise, and I would like to let you know, that I understand some women are frustrated with their lawyer. I personally feel that if it wasn’t for the lawyers our cookies may not be there at all. After reading your comments I understand clearly what you mean this cases might not give us what we deserve, but it would alert other in the future.

  38. Miss T says:

    Mr. Lewis, I’ve learned a great deal from your essay, and even more from your patient answers and use of analogies to people’s comments and questions here.

    I was injured with the Dalkon Shield, but being young decided at the time not to file suit. . .of course, my significant injuries, namely infertility, did not come about till later. I thought never again will I be so naive.

    I was a study patient for the Gynecare TVT secur mesh sling (my surgeon said I was an ideal candidate for it, and basically talked me into it rather than a more traditional method) in 2006. I did well initially, but started developing chronic bladder infections, several times a year and intercourse with my husband was beyond painful. Finally my internist referred me to a urologist, who upon examination told me that the mesh had migrated through the vagina and she said no wonder I was having chronic infections and painful intercourse (which had finally come to a complete stop several years earlier). I had a “somewhat” successful revision surgery, but not long after the revision surgery i started to have stress incontinence again. After the surgery, I decided to file suit. I was angry about what I had gone through, and what I had lost in life.

    Many thanks to Jane, as I have followed along with her news faithfully, and now I thank you, Mr. Lewis for your very REAL explanation of the process with these bellweather trails, and what the likely outcomes will be. Thanks as well for your empathy and kindness and patience as you have explained to all of us very angry and disillusioned women. You have been most kind.

  39. me says:

    It just occurred to me that if after these settlements these companies are still going to be making money on our pain and not go bankrupt… if they don’t have the financing To settle with us at a fair amount would it be prudent for our attorneys to require stock given to each one of us As part of our settlement so that when they make money in the future We Do to..just saying I don’t necessarily want own part of that company or support it but if our settlement aren’t going to make them go bankrupt and we aren’t going to get a fair amount this could help

  40. LP says:

    Since most of us will never be Made Whole again can we use this defense during subrogation , so we don’t have to pay back our insurance companies for previous procedures?

  41. David says:

    – Hal, to add to your comment under #33:

    The per-market regulatory “fork in the road” [510(k) verses PMA (Pre-market Approval)] is akin to a double-edged sword: If a device goes down the 510(k) route (Class II) there is no reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness*; and if a device takes the Class III (the high risk) PMA route – even if there is a “reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness” – the FDA’s “shield of approval” currently acts to protect the defective design of a manufacturer’s device from liability**….So, upon “juggling” these former considerations, why is a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness even warranted either pathway, when there was none needed for a 510(k) cleared device to be legally marketed in the U.S.? (As there are high-risk devices currently going down both pathways –this the FDA negligently knows by untimely example: Docket No. FDA-2014-N-0297.)

    Regardless of which pre-market route a device takes – reality fragments a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness between “the public health benefit” and “the unmet patient need”. In the past, when the FDA has understood that a device “presents a […] unreasonable risk of illness or injury” (21 U.S.C. § 360c(a)(C)(ii)(II)), it has acted to restricted its use (via a “back box warring”/contraindications) to make it still fit for its intended use (upon narrowing its labeled indication for use, to address: the current inadequacy of its labeling to legally warn U.S. consumers of unreasonable risks….specifically – the unreasonable risk resulting, and continuing, from its indiscriminate, reckless surgeon abuse –hence the reason for contraindications).

    The problem here is that because a “future expected cash flow is going to make up a very large portion of any settlement” – to restrict that “future expected cash flow” (via a “back box warring”/contraindications = to restrict a “SE” mesh device’s indication for use) and try to make a “SE” surgical mesh device fit for its intended use in the human body (as it was never FDA approved for that use nor safety and effectiveness understanding)…upon the FDA tiring to address the current inadequacy of a “SE” mesh device’s labeling (to legally warn U.S. consumers of unreasonable risks…to now try to make a “SE” mesh device fit for its intended use) – will essentially dry-up the “cash flow” needed for any settlement conclusion scenario….Therefore, Hal, your comment under #7 is perplexing?

    As these mesh manufacturers are now pinned together in a corner like rats…I just do not know how it is even possible that any mesh manufacturer can save their companies from not going bankrupt? With great thanks to all of you lawyers (in my book you eared your commissions for getting everyone here…and next to “the table”)….What patient would want a defectively designed mesh device permanently implanted in their body (relabeled with a “back box warring” or not…not relevant), when the severity of their condition (legally indicated, via a “black box label” contraindication = if not recognized: physician malpractice – for a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness for its reasonable = responsible real-world use – to combated the industry’s self-promotion of its own standards of care) does not warrant mesh use?

    No disrespect to you Hal but your comment under #7 is not even coherently logical to a future “cash flow” capability by this industry…I just don’t understand how these mesh manufacturer perpetrators will still be able predatorily target more future unsuspecting patient, to get their money to payoff the current patients they have harmed? (Just my opinion – I think you lawyers, like a mob, should cleanout their coffers sooner than latter…I just don’t think this industry is going to have a soft-landing.)

    Also, I really do believe that the bankruptcy scenario is the inevitable reality for most, if not all, of these mesh manufacturers predators. I see their world, transparently now falling apart…as they are losing their control over the practice of medicine –via their one-sided standards of care. Hal, please explain, why it is that you still believe that it would even be possible that these manufacturers could now be saved from bankruptcy – to continue to still make their current “cash flow” (their “blood profits”), by preying upon more future unsuspecting patients here in the U.S. – to payout any future domestic or globally reached settlement claims????…Am I missing some “sliver of reality” not yet revealed?

    * As the first half of Conclusion 7-1 stated, in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) July 2011 FDA sponsored report, Medical Devices and the Public’s Health: The FDA 510(k) Clearance Process at 35 Years: “The 510(k) clearance process is not intended to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medical devices with some exceptions.” (Very apparent now that surgical mesh was not one of those exceptions to the 510(k) standard.)

    ** Medtronic, Inc., v. Lora Lohr, as explained at – http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/IEEE/ieee25.htm

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Dear David,

      Let me address two points: one real and the other more perception than reality.

      1. All of these Defendants (J&J, Bard, Endo, Boston Scientific) are making a good portion of their money from selling dozens of OTHER products that are not associated with Mesh and that will not be adversely affected by any mesh recall, etc. Accordingly, they would all still bring in a healthy net income every year even if Mesh was outlawed tomorrow. THIS IS OUR SAVING GRACE. The current MDL situation and the huge verdicts that are accumulating would not just bankrupt the “mesh division” of these companies… they would bankrupt the entire companies. So while this would be a way to prevent them from selling Mesh in the future, it would also mean that hundred’s of other very safe and very useful and very profitable products would no longer be sold. This is the ONLY reason that these companies have not already declared bankruptcy — because they would have closed up shop long ago if mesh was their only product.

      So the reality is that banning all sales of mesh in the future would not by itself put these companies out of business. It would, as I said, just restrict their cash flow and cut down on the amount they could contribute to a settlement.

      2. But the PERCEPTION of not being “wrong” is also very important to the future integrity of these companies. They want to stay in business selling all of their other products, and they want to do it without the stain of having been FORCED to recall one of their products. If they should “voluntarily” decide to stop selling mesh after the MDL is settled, then they could come up with a different reason for doing so that let’s them save face.

      * I agree with you that these companies trying to sell mesh in the future that comes with a big black box warning and a long list of dangerous side effects would be akin to trying to sell ice to an Eskimo. But then again, these companies make a lot of money selling their products in countries where lawsuits don’t even exist… so like Big Tobacco, they may just start focusing their sales overseas after a global settlement. Is this morally right? No. But it isn’t something that can be addressed or prevented by lawsuits like ours here in America.

      • David says:

        Here’s what I think Hal –perhaps “OUR” or actually YOUR (the attorneys representing these women who have been deceptively, predatorily targeted, exploited and then harmed by these mesh manufacturer predators–and who now want to insultingly compensate these women with the least amount of money as possible for their life-time of pain and suffering ahead)…“SAVING GRACE” will be that these companies do have the ability to close down their U.S. “mesh [divisions]” and stop selling surgical mesh across all indications in the U.S. Any settlement with these women, who have currently been harmed, could be made conditional on a legally binding assurance that the U.S. “mesh [divisions]” of these companies will indeed be shutdown and unable to be reopen again in the future (with of course also a stipulation to prevent anymore setting up of shell companies to again carryout more “business as usual” practices). This preceding reasonableness will allow these companies to then avoid bankruptcy….So that they can then make their future monies from only selling safe and effective products in the U.S. And also, so that these companies specifically, will not again be tempted to continue to prey upon the vulnerabilities of any more future, unsuspecting potential U.S. mesh implant patients in particular.

        As to this “PERCEPTION of not being ‘wrong’” “problem” which these companies seem to have made into THEIR own problem –this one is a simple fix: these companies are wrong so their one-sided reality is not a direct problem for anyone else (and certainly, not specifically for these mesh injured women)….I, however, think that the top executives of these companies should go to jail so there will be no indirect “PERCEPTION” misunderstanding left for other medical device manufacturer to continue to act upon. New leadership at these companies – to have addressed this “PERCEPTION” problem the previous leadership had – will then help these companies get going in the right direction…So that in ARE shared, new reality together, they can benefit or not benefit future U.S. patients, upon every legally informed patient’s discretionary judgment of reasonable risk (independent of the FDA’s or another’s opinion of the next “public heath benefit”).

        Furthermore, I think a settlement, which is not going to put a lot of money on the table for those women who have been currently harmed, could also be conditional on some positive changes made at the FDA too. Like requiring that an effective, legal patient informed consent process be put into place so no future, potential U.S. implant patient will be ever again be tricked by a gullible surgeon (via the device manufacturer co-perpetrator) in sacrificing their life-time of safety, compensatory to that surgeon’s own, patient abusive need to act out his/her regressive training limitations. And of course, the end of all 510(k) device clearances in the U.S. should also be included as part of ANY reasonable settlement requirement. We certainly don’t want any more unreasonably dangerous 510(k) “predicate devices” left hanging around again for the next device’s “substantially equivalent” (“SE”) market clearance – across indications – through “same [510(k)] intended use”.

        Since these companies are not willing –or as you say Hal, apparently do not have too much money to spare, I think WE ALL need to get a lot more creative in suggesting how these women might be willing to settle on THEIR reality: the reality that they could take a little bit of money for their lifetime of pain and suffering ahead, but while at the same time “feel good” about their “consideration” that they decided to leave these companies in business. In my opinion, if these mesh manufacturers are willing to come to a “reasonable compromise package” the attorneys for those women currently harmed by these particular defendants’ “SE” mesh devices, just might, still be able to get their clients to settle. It is at least (maybe) worth a try for both sides to come together to help these manufacturers out with their projected future cash-flow and other problems…one-way or the other. Because even if it does not work out for these companies, they can still go on to file bankruptcy; what real options do the women they preyed upon have left to them now (certainly, it appears, not the future financial means to even get help for the harm they caused them)?

        “Life isn’t fair”; one human being should not be allowed to prey upon the vulnerabilities of another….This too is also true.

  42. Jane says:

    It seems to me that if we get to the point of monetary amounts decided for cases it will not be fair to anyone. This is almost like a divorce. No one really wins. And there is a lot of damage.

    I have not had revision surgery. I was told by my doctor that she would want a trauma surgeon in the operating room so I don’t HOPEFULLY receive anymore nerve damage. She stated I could end up in a wheel chair with permanent damage to my legs and not be able to walk. I have leg/hip/back nerve damage. Now here is the clincher. The doctor has never written that into my medical report. With her statement I obviously have been reluctant to have any revision surgery.

    So here I sit, can’t work because of the pain and meds I take. My physical ability to do things is declining. Haven’t had surgery as I’m afraid of the outcome. Removing the sling could help but could make it worse. I haven’t worked in 4 years and my salary was $55,000/year. I’m grateful I don’t have the infections and the other issues a lot of people have had. But where would I place on the long list of candidates for awards. I hope I don’t have to consider surgery but that outlook is not too pretty right now.

  43. Dawn says:

    With the 510(k) process, why is it they have a precedent product that they all use as proof to why their product is good ? And yet when the mesh precedent was recalled after only two years… Why were the products that used it as proof not recalled as well ?

    • David says:

      Dawn, if I may take the liberty to not leave your great, two-part question left unanswered (sorry I did not originally think your question was intended for me):

      As to “why is it they have a precedent product [the 510(k) predicate device] that they all use [these current defectively designed surgical mesh devices for the POP/SUI indication –also predicate devices] as proof to why their product is good [via the 510(k) standard of ‘substantial equivalence’ (‘SE’)]?” –this first part of your question is best understood (via “the problem”) by quoting from pages 13-14 of the January 2, 2013 Citizen Petition and Petition for Stay of Action to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), submitted by DuVal & Associates, P.A., addressed to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. (“filed on behalf of the medical device industry generally to challenge and force discontinuation of the administrative practices and definitional interpretations that FDA has put into practice since 2009 in reviewing 510(k)s which have dramatically changed the manner in which the 510(k) program operates”):

      “The 510(k) process…” (apparently only historically “[engaged],” although not as industry would like now”) “…in a regulatory presumption that each applicant should not be required to reprove over and over again what is already known about the underlying safety and effectiveness of the predicate device(s), its material properties, biocompatibility, mechanical performance, its application and value to the medical community, etc. The regulatory presumption acknowledges that the predicate family has demonstrated the underlying safety and effectiveness of the technological approach and the applicant need not reprove what is known or knowable. The underlying predicate device has been deemed safe and effective for its labeled intended use and clinical utility. The applicant need only demonstrate it has not diminished safety and effectiveness in comparison to the predicate. In this manner, the 510(k) program is sufficiently flexible to accommodate incremental technological changes in technology. Without this regulatory presumption every device would be destined for the de novo or PMA path.”

      As to “why were the [current] products that used it […I am assuming you were referring to ProteGen Sling –which used hernia meshes as its ‘predicate device’ for market clearance] as proof [for these current 510(k) predicate device product’s ‘SE’, via same 510(k) intended use] not recalled as well?” –this second part of your question is now best answered correctly = logically (although indirectly, also via quote) by the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on the Public Health Effectiveness of the FDA 510(k) Clearance Process,* Finding 2-3 as stated in their July 2011, FDA sponsored report, Medical Devices and the Public’s Health: The FDA 510(k) Clearance Process at 35 Years:

      “A 510(k) decision made by the FDA creates a precedent that is legally binding on the agency [FDA] unless it has rescinded the decision or has barred the device covered by that decision from the market through other legal actions.”…But, this is with the unavoidable understanding, that the first half of IOM report Conclusion 7-1 found that: “the 510(k) clearance process is not intended to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medical devices with some exceptions.”

      For the FDA to now question “SE” device clearance (either pre- or post-market, regardless of its denial/acceptance of risk outcome recognition) would place a great burden on FDA to establish safety and effectiveness (example: Docket No. FDA-2014-N-0297)…How to escape the burden of determining where to cut off the “gangrenous ‘SE’ limb” from the predicate devices’ family tree (via establishing effective legislative control parameters–no longer left stagnant in time to the preamendment device)?…This FDA burden follows the reality of IOM Report’s Finding 4-2: “Current 510(k) decisions have been built on a chain of predicates dating back to devices on the market in 1976. Because data systems in the FDA are inadequate, the agency does not have the ability to trace the supporting decisions.” Therefore, as the POP/SUI example very clearly “amplifies” – the device industry’s above rationale is as flawed as the 510(k) process is itself.** Where does “SE” madness end if not at its beginning–the preamendment device’s assumed safety and effectiveness…never-mind now almost 40 years of predicate creep in-between…which the device industry is calling “innovation”? And, when does this industry’s exploitation of more, future unsuspecting U.S. patients end if not NOW: TODAY?

      The FDA’s and Industry’s blatant denial of this ongoing gross failure of U.S. medical device regulation to even benefit “the public health,” was also the incorrect course of action – if risk is to be mitigated – for the benefit of addressing the patient’s “unmet need”: to have quality, non device industry inflicted healthcare alternatives left available.

      * The IOM’s Committee on the Public Health Effectiveness of the FDA 510(k) Clearance Process was tasks by the FDA to answer the following two principal questions: “1) Does the current 510(k) process optimally protect patients and promote innovation in support of public health? 2) If not, what legislative, regulatory, or administrative changes are recommended to optimally achieve the goals of the 510(k) process?” Question #1 is self-evident above and #2 is inescapably answered, via IOM Report Recommendation 7-1 (with “the answer”): “The Food and Drug Administration should obtain adequate information to inform the design of a new medical device regulatory framework for Class II devices so that the current 510(k) process, in which the standard for clearance is substantial equivalence to previously cleared devices, can be replaced with an integrated premarket and postmarket regulatory framework that effectively provides a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness throughout the device life cycle. Once adequate information is available to design an appropriate medical-device regulatory framework, Congress should enact legislation to do so.”

      ** The reason why the medical device industry’s rationale is so fundamentally, inherently flawed is because, as IOM report Finding 4-1 found, “the 510(k) process determines only the substantial equivalence of a new device to a previously cleared device, not the new device’s safety and effectiveness or whether it is innovative. Substantial equivalence, in the case of a new device with technologic changes, means that the new device is as safe and effective as its predicate.”***…And “without this [510(k)] regulatory presumption every device would be destined for the de novo or PMA path.” This Industry burden the FDA understands too…So they both travel the least burdensome route together: the 510(k) pre-market pathway…while also take turns “cracking the whip” to maintain their advantage.

      ** How safe and effective is the next cleared device, comparative to “the [‘SE’ 510(k)] predicate device,” when “with limited exceptions, a determination by the FDA that one device is “substantially equivalent” to another device does not reflect an FDA evaluation of the safety or effectiveness of either device” (IOM Report Finding 2-5)? This preceding IOM finding, in my opinion, was fundamentally the “game-over flag” on both 510(k) device clearance in the U.S. and for any future ongoing, trumped-up device industry rationale to “paste together” a coherent rationale –as the 510(k) pre-market regulatory process has nothing to do with a safety and effectiveness (except by “limited exceptions” to the standard or the rule of law).

  44. Me says:

    It just occurred to me that if after these settlements these companies are still going to be making money on our pain and not go bankrupt… if they don’t have the financing To settle with us at a fair amount, would it be prudent for our attorneys to require stock given to each one of us As part of our settlement so that when they Make money in the future We Do to..just saying I don’t necessarily want to invest in this company but … ibut if our settlement aren’t going to make them go bankrupt and we aren’t going to get a fair amount it would seem some future cash flow for all injured would help to alleviate our concern for our future of unemployment do to thier product. Crazy as it sounds….if they can’t pay us $ upfront this could help

    Soften the blow and alleviate the injustice of thier offers…

  45. Angry says:

    Here is something I hope can be answered. Why does it seem that we are seeing more commercials with law firms pressing this mesh mess? If these settlements are low, and the companies would go bankrupt if they had to pay what is fair to everyone that truly has to suffer for the rest of ones life, then why keep roping in more. Every time I see one of these commercials I get so upset. Also why do you think the media will not touch on this issue? I don’t think there is one person that watches TV that has not seen these commercials over and over again. The public is well aware that some thing is wrong with Transvaginal Mesh-Bladder Mesh but sadly the public does NOT know how bad the complications really are. I personally directed this question to people, a lot of people ( HAVE YOU SEEN THE AD ON THE T,V ABOUT PELVIC MESH) Most answered this way ( YES I HAVE BEEN SEEING THIS COMMERCIAL TO CONTACT A LAW FIRM FOR YEARS FOR A CLASS ACTION THING…….Point being….This tragedy is in the tens of thousands now !! Why make it bigger?

    • Michelle says:

      I think I can answer that. If the law firm recovers a total of “X” amount of dollars, they get 40% of it, regardless of if they are splitting it between 10 clients, or 10,000 clients.

      If a particular firm has 50,000 people crying foul against the manufacturer, versus, 20,000- then the overall total of the settlement will inevitably be more, therefore, it is a win/win for the attorneys. (Sorry Mr. Lewis, I know for some of you this isn’t just about money, but I think it goes without saying there are plenty for whom it IS just about money.)

      The more people involved in a mass settlement, the larger the total amount has to be- the attorneys get 40% of the total, so they really don’t care if individual clients ends up with 5,000 or 500,000, as long as they squeeze every possible dollar out of the manufacturer.

      That said- I don’t think it is necessarily unethical that they are recruiting un-injured mesh patients, because a lot of these women simply haven’t had an issue from it YET, but may down the road a few years. Others may have ongoing issues (myself being one of them) who didn’t know the mesh was what is causing the issues. (I didn’t know I HAD mesh, thought I had a biologic implant, so I paid no attention to all those commercials about mesh problems. My urologic problems started within 2 wks of my surgery, but my dr insisted it wasn’t related to the sling. Looking back, was really stupid to think I didn’t argue with him…) Anyway….3 years down the road, when the mesh could be both seen AND felt, when it had sliced through my urethra, learned that I had a mesh sling. By then it was far too late to undo the damage. I have had a partial removal, was good for a few months, then pain returned, along with the stress incontinence the sling had fixed. Talk about adding insult to injury….now I have pain AND pee my pants. So, given that, I actually feel bad for women who have no injury, but will accept a tiny settlement because they CAN…only to learn 5 years from now that they have irreparable damage, and no hope of getting compensation, ever.

      Mr. Lewis is right- there can be no “fair” outcome to this. The best we can hope for is to get screwed as little as possible.

    • Michelle says:

      I think I can answer that. If the law firm recovers a total of “X” amount of dollars, they get 40% of it, regardless of if they are splitting it between 10 clients, or 10,000 clients.

      If a particular firm has 50,000 people crying foul against the manufacturer, versus, 20,000- then the overall total of the settlement will inevitably be more, therefore, it is a win/win for the attorneys. (Sorry Mr. Lewis, I know for some of you this isn’t just about money, but I think it goes without saying there are plenty for whom it IS just about money.)

      The more people involved in a mass settlement, the larger the total amount has to be- the attorneys get 40% of the total, so they really don’t care if individual clients ends up with 5,000 or 500,000, as long as they squeeze every possible dollar out of the manufacturer.

      That said- I don’t think it is necessarily unethical that they are recruiting un-injured mesh patients, because a lot of these women simply haven’t had an issue from it YET, but may down the road a few years. Others may have ongoing issues (myself being one of them) who didn’t know the mesh was what is causing the issues. (I didn’t know I HAD mesh, thought I had a biologic implant, so I paid no attention to all those commercials about mesh problems. My urologic problems started within 2 wks of my surgery, but my dr insisted it wasn’t related to the sling. Looking back, was really stupid to think I didn’t argue with him…) Anyway….3 years down the road, when the mesh could be both seen AND felt, when it had sliced through my urethra, learned that I had a mesh sling. By then it was far too late to undo the damage. I have had a partial removal, was good for a few months, then pain returned, along with the stress incontinence the sling had fixed. Talk about adding insult to injury….now I have pain AND pee my pants. So, given that, I actually feel bad for women who have no injury, but will accept a tiny settlement because they CAN…only to learn 5 years from now that they have irreparable damage, and no hope of getting compensation, ever.

      Mr. Lewis is right- there can be no “fair” outcome to this. The best we can hope for is to get screwed as little as possible.

  46. Angry says:

    In addition to last comment….Putting more and more women into this MDL would seem to make settlements less and less. This MDL needs to end and let the next generation of injured(god I hate saying that) go into the state in which they reside.

    • Sandy says:

      First of all I don’t think we should talk one attorneys opinion on this. No disrespect ment but how does this one attorney know what we have all gone through individually. Not all attorneys agree with Mr. Lewis. I would like a few other attorneys respond on MND to what Mr. Lewis is saying. I feel like he could be the pied piper and we are following him with out any one else giving their opinion. Perhaps he is right but I just dont feel like he is giving me the best advice to just suck it up take what I can get and go on living. I did not get into this to make a few bucks. I did not get into this at all. I was lied to, hurt and made permantly disabled from AMS! I have been through so many procedures I have lost count. I don’t believe I should say oh well such is life. I have to thnk about the next 30 years of my life and the medical problems I could have because of mesh. I am not ready to jump ship because of one attorney who yes, sounds like he cares but I wonder how many victums he has on retainer. 30-40%. If it is 30% and let’s say they settle for 30,000 and have 25 clients that’s 225,000 clear for the attorney. It’s a hell a lot more than them victims are going to get. Seems to me the only one taking a kick in the pants are the victums. I could be wrong but I am not going to give up my right to fight because I AM ONE OF THE SEVERALY INJURIED!! I AM ONE OF THE MANY WHO’S LIFE HAS BEEN DESTROYED BY MESH! AFTER ALL THE SURGERIES AND PROCEEDURES AND HOSPITAL STAYS I AM STILL IN PAIN 24/7. Mr. Lewis you don’t know me so how can you advise what you have here on the MND. Most attorneys won’t even talk to people unless they are hired by the victum first. Then they have to go through your history and get to know your issues. Fre advice isn’t free if you take it in the pants in the end and lose all your rights to pursue your case. Many of us don’t even know the end of our stories yet.

      If you had mesh put in you and had no issues and you feel ok with it, then take the 20 or 30 or 40 grand. I wish you the best. If you are still fighting to get through the day talk to your attorney. If they won’t talk to you report them to the board in their state. You have the right to a good representation. It makes me sad and frustrated and almost overwhelmed to think seriously and I say seriously injuried women will settle for a small settlement. You know who you are. If you are one of to many who did this just to get some money I say shame on you. There are to many people who do this kind of thing for money! The women who just needed some real medical help for issues and ended up with serious injuries are being buried and stepped on by all of the other BS and threats of bankruptcy! I guess human life means nothing to so many now days. One only has to turn on the their evening news to hear how little life means to so many who will kill and destroy lives with no thought. I think that is what has happened to the seriously injuried mesh victums. No one cared who they hurt and destroyed with mesh. All they cared about was making money.

      I am not going to jump on the global settlement agreement. I believe it is very extremely unfair to the people who’s lives have been destroyed by mesh. If you are doing better and have gotten your life back congrats to you!! I wish you the best life can give you. I still have one leg/groin that hurts and hasn’t even been touched. The other one is in so much pain i cant do any thing. I don’t know the end of the story yet. Why would I listen to an attorney who I have never met, doesn’t know one thing about me or what hell I have been through. You may be right, but again no disrespect but I think I will listen to my attorney. He has advised me to hang on because he knows I have been hurt badly by mesh and it would be a slap in my face to settle for what they are offering. No one knows the future but even Mr. Lewis said it we don’t want them in bankruptcy because then they can continue to pay for lawsuits down the road. Thank you all for taking so little so I can get what I deserve.

      I don’t mean that in a harsh way. But if you are hurt badly and settle for less than what you think you deserve then its your choice. Mine is to hang in their. I really have no choice I have to try to get back as much as I can because they have taken so much from me. Best of luck to all of you!!!

  47. Diane Elliott says:

    ??? IF WE ALL RECEIVE STOCK IN THE COMPANY WHO DESTROYED OUR LIFE! WOULD WE HAVE A VOICE THEN?

  48. Me says:

    so if an attorney gets two cases and they have to do the research and all the work and get everything together on those two cases which there are thousands of us, not two, they then get all that information together and they go to court and they win $2.6 million for their client and they take 40% of that ….now I understand why they’re advertising for more and more clients because all the footwork all the facts all and leg work has been done and now all they have to do is push for the manufactures to settle and these clients won’t cost them a near the amount of the first few cases and they will still get 40% because it is repetitious information they are useing for each client…. yes they have to work for the first few and yes they have to work to get the information on each individual client but 40% of $1 million!?!?!? when a doctor has 100s of patients they are all different with different cases. Us meshies are going to be categorized in just 3, 4 or 5 tiers… They aren’t looking at our individule issues in terms of the effects it has on our lives or who has a higher pain tolerance they are grouping us to find a settlement amount what ever happened to we are still individual cases?! …so yes there is a difference between my attorney and doctor. When I get a letter from my attorney he is sending that same duplicated letter to hundreds of women, one letter copied a hundred times, nice and generic. But my doctor when signing my chart or RX or work note, he is giving me and me alone his time effort and attention so it does warrant him getting full pay from each individual. I was promised my case would stay individual…not. So they keep advertising for more mesh patients because they will have to do a third of the work but still come out with 40% on each client….do the math. Also why no answer to my earlier comment that our lawyers should secure us stock shares in those companies as part of our settlement in order to offset the fact that most of us won’t get enough money to pay for past and present care let alone any future care and cost? If these companies aren’t able to settle farely because they don’t have cash on hand and they can still go on to become huge financial corporations in the future, why can’t they share that wealth with the peeps they got away with destroying?

  49. Me says:

    Get real… We don’t have a voice now. Those companies are going to go on to earn billions after all is said and done and we will still be losing our lives to this mesh. I don’t want to support them anymore than anyone else but my family deserves to be able to eat. If we hold out for more money we could all end up with nothing or it could take many more years befor we see anything. I am trying to figure a way that they can pay us what we deserve….even if they have to settle on some now and pay the balance in yearly installments based on thier worth for the year…there has o be a way.

  50. Angry says:

    Yearly installments, hell after the past 7 years and the changes, infection, rashes, abscesses, pain, major amounts of medication, hours under anesthesia , five times, the stress ect I would be surprised if I am even around years from now. That pay later will not help now and just speaking for myself, stock in these companies? I want nothing to do with a company that has total disregard for ones life. As for the commercials pertaining to mesh, has anyone noticed that now it says “If you or a loved one had or has mesh please call for a free consolation, It used to say mesh with COMPLICATIONS, The only good thing out of these commercials is maybe it will help someone early on instead of running around not knowing why they are getting so ill and all kinds of medical problems that no one can answer, until it is too late. So sad !

    • Jane R says:

      I think there is something fishy here. These companies knew what they were doing. They have all been sued before so this is not new to them. The money made will far outweigh the money they have to pay out. Boston Scientific is all over the world and I’m sure the others are too. It would be different if one issue was the problem. Say you went in and had the sling put in for incontinence and it didn’t work. My doesn’t. But that is just one of the 20 issues I have. Loss of wages. I’ll be lucky if I stay married. My husband has had to support us, he had a heart attack and he is tired. We barely make ends meet. It’s a snowball effect from this mesh. It just keeps going.

      • Jane Akre says:

        That’s a very good way of putting it – the snowball effect. I hear from so many women who are hanging on by a thread and a $40k settlement is frankly an insult….the companies need to pay for the mesh removal surgeries at the very least through doctors chosen by the women, not the companies…. Ideally an injury fund should be formed by Congress to address ongoing injuries and funded by industry.

  51. Me says:

    Dear angry I agree it would suck having to take a yearly installment but if I was offered a decent offer now but not what I deserve and yet I was told it would be years or more if ever it was settled if I did not take it if they also offered stock in there pathetic company or a yearly installment on top of the initial settlement offer to make up the balance I would take it. Of course the amount that they give you upfront would have to be worth waiting for the rest but I have a family to take care of and I haven’t been able to work I have gone through the exact same thing everyone else has only Due to an abscess in my abdomen they had to take my cervix my spleen my gallbladder my ovaries my tubes I have been through six surgeries I have flown to Georgia from Michigan in order to get help I am broke I cannot work I have arthritis and fibro (which is an autoimmune issue) so bad I can barely get out of bed so I know how bad it can get and I know no one wants to own stock in these companies but if it means feeding my kids keeping my home I will do what it takes because I’m a survivor of mesh. I’m not saying I’m going to live a long life because of this crap but I’d like to make sure that my family is taking care of

  52. Angry says:

    Hi Me……I fully understand your thinking. Just feel so bad for all of us that we are even in this nightmare, I am trying so hard to accept all of this but I just cant. Now the reality has hit me and hit me hard. I will never be the person I was before I was lured into this scam and none of us will. Just the fact that all of this was able to even happen, was a wake up call in how badly our system is broken. Are ability to trust is gone

  53. Me says:

    Dear Angry

    since reading all of these remarks and listening to what Hal has said I have come to realize my life as I knew it is over but my goal is to find a way for my family to go on without suffering anymore. I am praying these lawyers find a conscience and fight for us in any way shape or form possible. I’m sorry but I don’t beleive my family should live in poverty struggling to pay all of my medical bills on top of all others for the rest of thier lives. My sons have spent the last 8 years trying to cope with a mother that will never be the same. I don’t want them to go another year with financial struggles on top of the mental anguish of knowing thier mother has been destroyed. I know it is not common practice to negotiate with terms like this but if we don’t we will walk away not even being able to pay past medical let alone present medical. I am sorry but at this point I am done worrying about myself and other people, I need to worry about my family and I can’t do that with $40,000 or even $80,000. But a guarantee of more funds in the future will help offset the pathetic amount it seems we will end up with in this settlement. I am not so proud that I would make my family suffer because I am angry that these companies aren’t going out of business.

  54. addison says:

    We posted this under another article but thought to post here for Jane and Hal: We’ve noticed a few statements regarding settlements and tiers within them. For example, someone mentioned a settlement being worked on in recent months – possibly AMS? Is this currently in place? Compensation amounts were provided in at least one post. The amounts listed were supposedly being offered to injured plaintiffs with either no revisions or one revision surgery. Somewhere else, we read of the highest settlement offers being much higher.

    • Jane Akre says:

      My understanding as a non lawyer is that there are tiers of injury, that is true. However the most severely injured people (how that is decided is a mystery to me….can a they see into the future?) will negotiate a higher settlement amount. Either way, it will never be enough in my opinion.

  55. addison says:

    Jane and Hal, for some reason, we can’t post our full message. The “Submit Comment” box disappears when we try, so we’ll break our message into parts. Please read our above post, first post. Is the info. we have read regarding settlements and tiers heresay, or does someone have access to such information? We were under the impression this information is not to be discussed by plaintiffs and won’t be known by the public until the settlements have been implemented.

    How many plaintiffs

  56. addison says:

    Again, sorry for needing to break this into parts. How many plaintiffs, percentage wise, are needed for settlements to be implemented? Is it 80-90%? What happens to the plaintiffs who don’t accept? If a plaintiff has carefully thought about an offer but feels a settlement isn’t in his or her best interest, he/she has a right to seek a fair trial, correct? Is this typically agreed upon when hiring an attorney and signing a contract? Can a plaintiff’s attorney negotiate with the defendants on an individual basis or case?

    • Jane Akre says:

      I”m not a lawyer but understand at least 90% and higher are needed to sign on before a settlement is offered. If a plaintiff doesn’t wantto accept, he or she can ask for a jury trial, however expect to wait even longer…. and …. some lawyers are not in it for the long haul and may not want to work up your case for trial. That takes real work and cost and they may not be equipped to handle that challenge and just dismiss you as a client. Then you can search for a new law firm and I understand there are others willing to step in to take those women who have been further dismissed…..adding insult to injury. This is based on a non-lawyer assessment, thank you.

  57. addison says:

    Lastly, Jane and Hal: We continue to read about settlements being based on the number of removal surgeries. Is this correct? After all, a severely injured patient can be one who has faced any number of revisions or none depending on circumstances. How will companies and attorneys classify those who are injured but can’t undergo revisions due to the dangers? How are those who are permanently injured but had one extensive revision with a skilled surgeon classified? And those who have had two or more removal surgeries? Some with two or more revisions continue to suffer more than most can imagine while others are thankfully doing quite well.

    Are permanent injuries, being unable to work and on disability, and age being looked at in these cases? If so, what can the truly injured expect?

    Jane, thank you for this informative site. We hope to hear from you and Mr. Lewis.

    • Jane Akre says:

      I’ve never thought that makes sense either. Just because you don’t have a revision is not necessarily because you don’t need one! It may be you do not have the resources to have surgery. a single revision also doesn’t mean your case is more “valuable” you might be further along on the mesh journey. Those are my thoughts….

  58. Jeneane says:

    It seems kind of strange to me that there are always commercials on t.v. With some attorney advertising about the mesh product lawsuits, trying to pull every last person in that has been damaged by the mesh products. The more the merrier it seems, and after reading your report Hal my thoughts are that the pharmaceutical companies Boston Scientific, Johnson and johnson etc. have more than likely worked a deal with the attornies to pay us little to nothing to keep them.a float,and of course the attornies would get paid handsomely. These companies have the money to pay us quite well. I also do not believe there are as many people as badly affected as you are leading us to believe. This will all be public record at some point. You. Make it sound as though these companies were making these mesh products like toothbrushes and everyone has one. I work in an office of 325 people a good majority woman, and a lot of the woman did not even know that if you had incontinence that it could be fixed (medically). Somebody is pulling somebody’s chain here. And I am here to tell you we are getting SCREWED LADIES.

    • Cindy Madrid says:

      The only mesh lawsuits going forward are for pelvic floor repair. There are really as many hernia repairs that have gone awry. I am looking a a large hernia repair. All those poor people (what am I going to do?) have NO recourse whatsoever. Their surgeons and doctors are treating them like they are crazy cry babies when their lives are just as ruined. Attorneys are ignoring anything but, one kind of mesh implant. The same issues occur sooner or later anywhere the mesh is embedded in the body.

  59. kitty says:

    What I find so shocking and heartbreaking is how young so many of these women are. I was considered young when I had the implants at age 56. Circling the drain has been long and puzzling for me.

  60. Me says:

    I was 40 when they destroyed my life. When they found my abscess it was almost too late. So instead of my life being taken they took my ability to be a women. So when they give me a tier they are going to base it on the # of surgeries I’ve had and not the severity of the injury. How lucky am I ?! I wonder if Hal can help explain how the tier system works and how it could be considered fair?

  61. Diane Elliott says:

    None of it is fair! We just have to keep fighting for our rights as human beings that have had our lives destroyed by ( GREED). If a settlement is offered that is unacceptable, refuse it, go after what it will take to cover your losses and future medical expenses. It breaks my heart to hear of all the pain ( MESH ) has caused all of us, the ( DEAF EARS) TO OUR OBVIOUS PAIN AND SUFFERING! We wake up every day not knowing what new pains, diagnosis will hit us due to the poisons working their way through us, destroying our very being. MAY GOD BLESS US. ALL!

  62. Me says:

    How do you price permanent female injury or the happiness and contentment within a marriage that you will no longer have? How do I put a price on the time my children lost with a mother who is “normal”. I have been told the courts do not think a uterus and ovaries is worth anything in a lawsuit… Seriously?! So at 40 years old my body was forced into premature menopause and my weight changed and my hair is falling out my moods are awful and I have hot flashes, as well as haveing awful scars…ect. .but it’s not worth anything? How do I figure out the fact that I had to quit my job because the long hours at a desk were not tolerable or because I am too imbarassed that I have to get up a pee every 15 mins…I wish someone could give us a mathamatical equation that we can sit down and at least try to figure an amount that we think is exceptable…we have nothing to base it on so we know what is fair…anyone have knowledge how they figure these things and can tell us what we figure or how much for each year of suffering it would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Me,

      The answer is that your case is probably “worth” about $3 million. This is based on what impartial juries have awarded to seriously injured victims thus far, and it is consistent with current trends for juries in serious injury cases. In other words, the days of $1 million being “all the money in the world” are long gone.

      HAVING SAID THAT… please keep in mind everything I wrote about how that same answer applies to 50,000+ other victims… which comes to a total of $150 billion. There will never be anywhere near even a fraction of this amount available to pay claims, regardless of whether people approve the settlement or line up to try their case in court.

      So in reality… you have $3 million worth of Confederate dollars… or $3 million worth of transistor radios… or $3 million worth of swamp land that nobody will pay you for.

      I KNOW THIS SOUNDS TRAGIC… but in actuality it is akin to an investment situation that millions of Americans just went through with housing prices and the bursting bubble. They had a house worth $600,000 (with a mortgage of $550,000)… and the next week their house was worth $200,000.

      My point is: Huge corporations can commit fraud and do FAR MORE damage than they can ever repair or repay… and it happens all the time. There is no happy ending in these situations.

      • me says:

        Hal,

        Thank you for your reply. I believe BS has a total of like 20 to 30 thousand cases and when I do the math I come up with at least 1bill

        If we all got what our cases are worth surely they can afford that. So I pray they don’t try to use our ignorance of the legal system to rip us off. That being said, I have decided I will not take less then what I feel my personal case is worth.

  63. addison says:

    Thank you for your answers and opinions, Jane. Thanks, too, for creating this site, learning about the products and subsequent litigation, following trials, and supporting those who desperately need and deserve understanding and justice. God bless you, and may God bless everyone affected by this or another tragedy.

  64. addison says:

    Hal, if you have time to answer our questions, several under posts by “addison” on the 14th, we’d appreciate it. Answers might help those who are not only badly injured and scared but increasingly anxious because of the unknown. Conflicting reports make matters worse. My wife is one who deserves honest answers. She’s an amazing wife and mother who has suffered tremendously, in her thirties and probably on SS disability the rest of her life. Thank you for your time.

    • Hal Lewis says:

      Unfortunately, we are not allowed to discuss the specifics of confidential MDL settlement negotiations… so I cannot get into any details about proposed tiers or payments or criteria. This is why I used publicly known financial information about the companies in my article and nothing from confidential sources.

      But YES, I can tell you that the attorneys understand that “revision surgeries” are not the only way of determining how serious anyone’s injuries are… and they will not be the sole determining factor.

  65. addison says:

    Hal, thank you for your reply. We know that you can’t discuss these particular settlements in detail. Hoping for more general information on considerations and tiers of injury. Can you possibly give us a little more detail? In past experiences with settlements and MDL’s, what have you noticed? Since revisions are understandably not the only determining factor in tier placement, what else is typically considered?

  66. addison says:

    Hal, we have noticed your posts regarding 50,000 or 100,000 plaintiffs with the “same exact injuries.” There are, of course, many who have been injured by these products, but it is absolutely not true that all of these cases or injuries are the same. Many of the injured signed with particular attorneys for a reason, and signing was difficult – not something enjoyed but something that had to be done. Prior to signing a contract, some were told the cases would absolutely be examinined individually – this individuality as well as the type of lawsuit being necessary and the only form of justice for those facing so much. We understand some of your points and appreciate your responses, but at the same time, we are not discussing class action nor are any two cases exactly alike.

    Although any amount of injury is unfortunate and grounds for action, there are some who are permanently and severely injured. Some of the permanently and severely injured have young children who need their mothers. Their children are also facing too much. These women should have been able to enjoy more activities and time with their husbands and children, work for another 30-40 years, and be active members of society for another 40-50 or more years. To tell such injured patients anything different, especially when they have been told by physicians and attorneys alike that their injuries are terrible and not common, isn’t helping or supporting them. And they need and deserve all the help they can get.

    I don’t want to get into details here, but my wife has been through heck and remains there. She is a young mom, full of life and beyond productive before this tragedy. Although she is brave and does her best, she is on permanent SS disability with little hope of working again or doing a lot of what she loves. I feel for everyone unfairly injured, and I pray they have or find good medical care, support, and as much relief as possible. No matter one’s age and work status prior, this is very unfortunate, and every case is different. I just don’t want my wife or anyone in similar circumstances reading or being told she/they face exactly what 50,000 or 100,000 others do.

  67. Me says:

    Addison,

    Referring to above…we ALL deserve honest answers.

    Hal and Jane,

    I have learned more on this thread than I have over the last 7 years. I can’t thank you enough. It takes a lot of courage to talk to people about such an explosive topic, again from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  68. addison says:

    To “Me”: Yes, everyone affected by this tragedy deserves fair treatment and honest answers. We had hoped anyone reading our comments would see that we know this and care about everyone affected. Please don’t be offended by a sentence or two regarding someone we love deserving answers. She does. This doesn’t imply that others don’t as well. We hope you understand that just as you have posted your particular feelings and concerns, we have as well.

  69. addison says:

    Because of all she has gone through and her inability to research everything on her own, several of us look to this site. She tells us some of what she has read, and we do the same. Prior to last week, none of us had posted here or on any site. We decided it was ok to post a few concerns and questions. We don’t believe age is the main factor here, simply wanted to let Hal know our situation. Seeing someone we love hurt this badly, beginning in her very early 30’s, is heartbreaking. To the woman posting under “Me”, we saw your age and concerns due to this and your experiences and were

  70. addison says:

    reaching out to you and for you as well. We remain hopeful that Hal will see our comment from yesterday. We appreciate his articles and answers thus far but hope he acknowledges the differences in these cases, not only the similarities. The severely and permanently injured are traumatized and need love, support, justice, and answers. We are very much aware of the hell our loved one has faced and likely will for life.

  71. addison says:

    These injuries are difficult to experience, and to read comments like “This is part of life. Didn’t you women read before your surgeries? Don’t you know that bad things can happen…” is heartbreaking. This further traumatizes the victims in this. Those posting such remarks online must be miserable. Empathy is not something they possess. Intelligence also isn’t on their side because anyone who has done any amount of research on this topic or has experienced it first hand knows that many of the injuries resulting from these implants and removals were not disclosed prior to surgery.

  72. Me says:

    Dear Addison,

    The unfortunate part of all this is I don’t believe these manufacturers understand the trauma our families have gone through not just us but our children and our husbands.I have come to the realization that my body will never be the same and I’m dealing with that mentally and physically. The hard part though is knowing what my children have lost, they have lost the mother that’s active and can go out and do things with them. No one understands more than a woman with mesh how your body changes and how your self-esteem drops I’ve become a hermit in my own home just as probably most of these injured women. We may all have different levels of injury due to mesh and have had different amounts of surgeries due to mesh but the one constant and the one thing that is alike in all of our stories is our families have suffered. I’m not suing for me I’m suing for my family they should not have my past medical dept or present medical care hanging over thier shoulders. The last thing I ever wanted to say to my kids is no I’m sorry we can’t visit grandpa in Florida because mommy has a doctors appointment or I can’t afford it because I had to pay my co pay for the doctor visits or get my medicines filled. In my opinion there is no such thing as fair settlement in these cases, there is nothing fair about all the time our familys have lost being happy. That we can’t get back. So these company need to put the feeling of control back into the hands of the women they have destroyed. They need to help us bring happy back into our families lives and the only way they can do that is by giving us what our cases are valued at on a monetary scale. I will do what it takes to suck up the pain and put a smile on my face every day so that my children don’t have to live with my pain but these companies need to make up for all the years that that was not possible.

    • addison says:

      It would be nice if those who don’t understand the whole picture made an effort to learn more, hear more, see more. Too many turn the other cheek because it’s somehow easier for them.

      We followed through for our family, too.

      God bless you!

  73. addison says:

    There are some very kind, skilled and respected attorneys working on these cases. We hope everyone harmed has such representation. These attorneys not only carefully review all of the injured party’s medical records – sometimes thousands of pages – but welcome and truly care about the opinions, versions and experiences outside of the hospital and clinic walls. We can’t be afraid to fill in gaps or disclose important, sometimes embarrassing information.

    Attorneys who fight for others because they care–because they are empathetic beings–will not let anyone walk all over and further traumatize severely or permanently injured men or women. Although there are similar experiences and injuries in these cases, all resulting from the same or very similar products (thus the MDL formation), no two cases are exactly alike. The differences are real and must be handled as such. At the same time, Hal’s words regarding the financial aspects of this make sense. Settlements and the tiers within are likely difficult to form, and it might take a whole lot of time and consideration, but looking at each case individually is a must.

    It is true that many kind and reputable attorneys are putting their minds and hearts together in this battle. Not all attorneys think of their clients as a means to get rich, and the good ones know that we, plaintiffs in this litigation, are similar in some aspects but very different in others. We think those working together to create the very best outcome are considering experiences and what was known before surgery, severity and permanency of injury, age, removal surgeries, those who need removals but can’t proceed, activity level before and after injury, losses, others affected by this such as spouses or partners and children, expected outcomes/the future, and more. We should all think of one another, support one another and hope and pray everything above is considered vs. only one or two considerations. Sadly, many things in life are not fair–what we are facing is not fair, but we can work together and continue to hope and pray for some fairness.

  74. Toni says:

    I just pray that in the end these company upper exec’s can sleep at night or look in the mirror at all. I know I can’t sleep at night. Wondering how I am going to pay my house payments or make the bills, I am a single Mom taking care of my 2 sons. !7 and 19 now. But they have had to endure me my pain and when I am the mom. I can’t do what I need to do to take care of them. There are times they have had to be men long before their time and suck it up to help me get through life. I have a good job and have worked hard to make it through life, But had a hysterectomy at 40. Somehow I had 2 prolift kits put in as well as a TVT tape. Looking back I am not sure why. Went to a specialist for a removal of a birth control devise as my Doc was part of a Catholic group so could not do birth control from what I was told. Ended up that he said I needed a hysterectomy and said I would be great and feel so much better following surgery. Well at first I thought he was right. But soon started having multiple issues that were never connected to the mesh. The dots now connect and my life has been hell. Infection bacterial , I have had mono 4 times since first surgery and have had 2 revisions . Currently I am hoping and working towards a full removal, god letting. I don’t know how long I can hold up with the daily pain and suffering and keeping a job to take care of my boys. I am now 50 and was so full of life and right now it is all I can do to get out of bed for work. Just trying to hang on barely.

  75. Renae says:

    Once again…..AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS!!!!! They took care of breast implant autoimmune disorders in the past……What about us, present and future? I had hashimotos thyroid, removed it, it had cancer. I’m still trying to revive my energy….it’s just not working 🙁

    • Mari says:

      Renee-

      I also have been diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease post mesh and have so many other symptoms. But I’m so over seeing specialists- none seem to be able to identify the cause for “fibromyalgia” “high calcium in my blood” sharp stabbing pains etc so they started looking for cancer. I don’t have it and so so sorry you did.

      I seemed to get well last summer-Fall and finally felt like me again and suddenly I’m back to horrible pain in ass at night (now I know where that expression came from) and cardiac small vessel eschemia-“angina” attacks and low energy again.

      Can you suggest what type of doctor to go to that could be a “one stop shop”? I hate going to all the various specialists. The endocrine, rheumatologist, cardiac and even neuro all seem to think “inflammatory” but how to treat and get well?

      • Jane Akre says:

        That is so common. Honestly, we need to use our collective experiences to provide researchers with a rich database to advance research into the autoimmune issues linked to mesh. Does anyone have a friend/ doctor/ medical group involved in research?

  76. kristine says:

    I have a question. I have Ams mesh. Have any of you ladies had bacterial infections constantly after your mesh was placed. I do. I have hip buttox and thigh pain. My pain is so severe I feel like I’m in labor. I have nerve damage diagnosed by my neurologist. I see a pain specialist every thirty days for pain pills and steroid injections. I go to physical therapy twice as week and my pelvis keeps popping out of place.

    Sex is out of the question. I’m coping the best I can. My frustration level is bad I started to see a psychologist. I’m terrified. I have been hospitalized 6 times over the past three years with pelvic infections so severe oral antibiotics won’t work. I could go on and on . I’m hoping to hear from other women like me. Thank you and god bless

  77. addison says:

    Hello Kristine. We will be praying for you. What type of infections are you suffering from, and how often do you get them? Are they bladder infections, kidney infections, bacterial vaginosis infections or another kind? When they send out for culture, which bacteria grows, and how often are you on oral antibiotics? Also, which probiotics do you use? When they don’t clear with oral antibiotics, how many days are you hospitalized on IV medications, and do they test again before you leave the hospital to ensure the infections have cleared?

  78. Cathy Baber says:

    Does anyone else think that since we have to take a reduced settlement that it’s only fair that the lawyers take a reduced settlement as well? The cost incurred split over the number of the claimants far exceeds what they receive enough from us?

  79. Me says:

    Dear Mr. Ronald James ( I beleive is the correct person). –

    I understand your frustration but being nasty or rude to Mr. Lewis who has been very patient with answering all her questions is not the answer. I agree I think the attorneys are taking too much when we are settling for so little, they do less work once all this settlement starts and we are not going to court. I do have to explain to Mr. Lewis however that his comments that there are no taxes and therefore we should be grateful is something I would not suggest he use when speaking to people injured by mesh. The federal government is the one that did not protect us. they shouldn’t be taking taxes on money that we have to use to pay medical bills because they did not do their job.

    So they don’t tax our money….money that has already been taxed many times over…how kind of them. But does that make it right for our attorneys to to take so much from women who are going to be given so little, I agreed to such a large amount because I was told my case was going to be considered individual but now they are telling me it is going to be bulked into tiers with several thousand others and we likely won’t be going to court. I would gladly pay the government thier 15 % and then pay the attorny 20% or even 25% which in my eyes is fair compensation and that would still be less than what I am paying to the attorney now. Just because the government has agreed to give us a break doesn’t make it alright to charge absorbident prices for our pain to make up for our tax brake, especially when all the work was done on only a handful of cases and not on each individual case. That is why they keep trying to get more cases signed up. The work will be done except for a small amount on each case but they still get paid as if we went to trial. I don’t agree with it, and when I pull up to my attorney’s office and he is getting out of his 2015 BMW at the same time I am getting out of my 2003 vw jetta it gets me sick because I know he is getting over compensated for the job but it is a global standard set and agreed upon by a league of attorneys and unless you pay that amount you can kiss what little you get goodbye. So yes Mr. Lewis life isn’t fair, but it’s that attitude along with the attitude of everyone “else is doing it so it’s Ok” that is wrong with our world. But… I still beleive the government needs to step up and right their wrong and make sure that we do not have to pay back medical and that we don’t have to fear the cost of future medical when the cause is their screwed up 501k system.

  80. Me says:

    Just sayin…

  81. LP says:

    My concern is with the future medical bills and who is responsible to pay these claims. I received an e-mail from my atty’s stating that future medical expenses falls upon me after a settlement takes place. I see that Hal answered that we “SHOULD” not be responsible for future medical claims because we could argue that we we’re not “Made Whole” if this is the case then according to the Made Whole Doctrine we should not be responsible for paying back previous medical care. My guess is we would need an attorney to “Argue” this, for us. I seriously doubt that our current atty’s will pursue the Made Whole Doctrine, for us, considering that the lien negotiators get a percentage of the medical lien settlement (because they are acting as lawyers for the insurance companies, also). I would like a straight answer, on this, are we responsible for future medical expenses or not? “should not be” is not a straight answer. http://specialneedsanswers.com/what-is-a-medicare-set-aside-and-when-do-you-need-one-14244

    • Mari says:

      I agree with the concept that we should not pay for future medical unless we are made whole. Do you have some language on that I could send to my Lawyer? I also want to know about the future responsibility of our medical bills regarding a settlement or even winning a Trial.

      Jane- we need an article using a fictional settlement clearly showing where each dollar of any award whether Srttlement of Trial goes.

      Jane-Thank you for all you do in the behalf of Mesh survivors against these predators. if it weren’t for your column I would likely not have known the source of my pain and newly acquired Autoimmune diseases.

  82. J says says:

    I just learnt that a friend of a friend had a mesh put in as early as a year ago, and is having a major problems. It just happens that she has an appointment to see the same doctor that did my 4th surgery. It just kills me that these products are still being allowed by the food and drug administration to still be put into a human body and destroy it. Ladies enough is enough, I think we need to make our voices heard. I am ready to go to Washington. Are you willing to go with me? This needs to end, we need our settlement, and a wrong needs to be made right. If we do not stand up for ourselves I am not so sure anything will ever be done.

  83. Mari says:

    I also believe this article was intent on softening us so we would settle. How wrong that would be- unless it’s an amount that compensates for future pain and suffering as that’s what many of us have to look forward to.

    I also disagree with the phones statement that they could all go out of business and then we get nothing. Nonsense a) it’s because we got “something” that they would go out of business and b) corrupt companies SHOULD go out of business. Then better companies will take their rightful place as new leaders and hopefully ethics will guide their research.

    New goal for us all- Lets put these manufacturers out of business if they don’t pull all mesh off the market now.

    let’s also hold our corrupt FDA accountable and sue them as well.

    All aboard??

  84. J says says:

    I am will to do what ever it takes to put this in the public eye. People see the commercials, but they have no idea what it is all about. How damaged our bodies are, and how these big companies continue to use these same product and the food and drug administration allows it. Somehow there just is not enough monies to pay out the existing cases, but attornies are still salisiting more individuals that have had problems from mesh products. Please explain .

  85. Brenda says:

    Mr. Lewis,

    “Life is not fair” is no more than a slap in the face to those who suffer from vaginal mesh damage. Do not compare us to those who suffered due to a car accident, elevator accident, etc. UNLESS the accident was due to the manufacturer’s failure to provide a safe product. We all know that many mesh manufacturers knowingly and purposely hid information regarding the dangerous effects of their mesh in order to protect their company and their financial gain. We are not ignorant women so please do not treat us as such. I find your commentary an insult and am grateful I did not turn to you or your law firm for help. All I hear from you is the “ka-ching” of cash payout in your future. For the rest of us, we will be left with very little, if anything.

    • Mari says:

      Well said Brenda. I felt the goal of his article was to start working on our brains to accept a dismal offer of settlement. These lies have caused irreparable harm and personally, they and the FDA should be held accountable criminally and economically~ even if it means being shut down. They should not be allowed to claim bankruptcy reorganization either. This egregious fraud is being allowed and basically encouraged when they are allowed to keep selling their mesh. I won’t settle. I hope other mesh victims stick to their guns and don’t let their attorneys bully them into taking the pennies they are offering.

  86. Eric says:

    Mr. Lewis,

    Okay, I see your point of the financial obligations of the company and that all of these women and men who have been so wrongfully treated should stick together and share the cookies, as you put it, so that everyone would benefit from the proceeds. So how about you Hal and the rest of the Lawyers? Are you still expecting your full 40% of the settlement? I’ll Quote you with ” We’re all in this together”. All of these Ladies and Gentlemen are taking a cut and continuing to live their lives with the pain and health issues caused by a company’s recklessness and ill regard for everything but making a buck. It seems to me that anyone who is truly concerned with the welfare and fair treatment of these innocent people would not expect to be first in line to get their “Whole Cookie”

    • Mari says:

      Eric- you get a standing ovation for stating the unstated we all wanted said.

      Mr Lewis- we’re all waiting for your response to Eric’s question. quid pro quo?

  87. Me says:

    Mr. Lewis…. So I’m trying to understand something…you are saying we women should take less of a settlement now to make sure there is enough money for future claims?……..are you asking us to take less now so that you will still have clients in the future? Because the way I see it, I want those companies to go bankrupt and close down. And if they do…..to me that just means they are not putting anymore of this nasty evil crap on the market to hurt more people and that will stop future claims.

    Also I just want to point out that if you feel we are all on the same team and we all need to take a hit for that TEAM….Does that mean our attorneys are going to take a hit for the team as well?

    So can we expect you as well as all the other attorneys, that believe we should except 1/2 to 1/3 or even less of what we deserve, will be taking that hit as well…? Especially since many of us women have lost jobs (income) permanently from age … let just say 39 years old, have been paying deductibles and co pays for tons of doctor visits and medical bills, have experienced loss of consortium( I don’t think anyone with an active sex life can begin to imagine what it’s like at a young age to never be able to enjoy intimacy again with your spouse or significant other!) how about you Mr. Lewis? how would you feel if some jackass used you as a Guinney pig and you could never enjoy sex again?….that is if you can even attempt it! What’s that worth to you? And let’s not forget our children, who have suffered their entire school years because mom could not phisically or mentally be there for them, not to mention they went many years with clothes only purchased from goodwill or Walmart. (Not Abecrombie, Sax Fith or Victoria secrets, like your wife, daughter or significant other is likely shopping at this very moment. And please let’s not forget the pain or the suffering we women are going through. You see Mr. Lewis, what you say may be cold reality for us “meshies” but in all honesty we don’t want to hear this kind of crap from a man who is asking us to take a hit for “HIS” team but he is not willing to take a hit for our team.

    Please feel free to share with all attorneys involved in “Our” MDL. I’m actually curious…I’m anxiously awaiting your reply.

    • Bejah says:

      Dear Me, These corporations will never be forced to close their doors or even fundamentally change their business models because they fuel the economic engine of the nation, and because they essentially own the government that you want to destroy them. Your response is emotional and very understandable but it is not rational or practical and I believe somewhere within you know this. I expect that what most of us would like to see is a responsible, ethical and honorable government that can and will enforce changes to the way corporations do business especially where medical devices and drugs are concerned. But dear me we are all responsible for this. Are we voting? Are we participating in our government? How many of us own a single serve coffee maker? Corporate America just to name one nation is constantly inventing devices and convincing us that we need them. We do not need many if not most of them. The first step in making real change is making that change in ourselves and admitting that we are part of the problem. You have heard the expression, “Be the change you want to see in the world”? (Sorry I can not credit properly). We need to change the way these corporations operate, not destroy them.

      Bejah

      • Me says:

        Dear Mr. Lewis,

        You are right, that reply was written while I was emotional, absolutely. But you never answered my question….!? Yes your right corporate America has to change, but, kind Sir, YOU ARE Corporate America. So come on! Stand up and show all those other legal corporations that you are going to be the start of that change. That is what you are asking us to do. The difference is you are asking families, not just the women injured by these people, but their whole family to sacrifice even more, when they have already lost so much and no doubt have to endure even more loss for the rest of their lives. You want US to be part of the change, yet you are not willing to take a loss or sacrifice for that change. Personally Mr. Lewis I believe that if a few brave attorneys step up and make the same sacrifice as you are asking us to do, THAT, would speak volumes to the Corporate world, the one you believe needs to be changed. Do NOT proceed to tell me that I have to make a change and that I am part of the problem, because I would never ever tell my neighbor during a drought that they cannot drink from the well, when I myself am filling my pitcher. Look inside Mr. Lewis. I have and do live my life setting an example of great ethics and morals, I always give without expecting back and I teach my children to never ask their piers to give more than they themselves are willing to give. Your wrong Sir, -WE- are not part of the problem, we are collateral damage to the people that, are the problem. I am still waiting for the answer…are YOU willing to take less Mr. Lewis? Are you willing to be part of that change?

        • Jane Akre says:

          One point… Mr Lewis is not corporate America…. sorry, he has a storefront like any other local business. Yes, some law firms are bigger than others and some represent corporations. Corporations (who are people- thank you Supreme Court) run Big Business such as Tobacco and Transvaginal mesh. I understand the rest of your point though and agree it should be asked.

          • Me says:

            Thank you Jane for clearing that up that Mr. Lewis is not Corporate. Is he one of the Attorneys representing mesh injured people? Is he taking 40% or more? If so, he is one of the people taking advantage of our situation and not being part of the change he speaks so strongly about. I am not trying to attack him. I appreciate that he is trying to talk to us and answer questions. but I also know if he is representing even just one client in this mesh litigation he is walking away with almost the same amount as that client. Just for doing his job. He has not gone through the devastation that this has brought to that clients life. And that is just one client, I’ll bet he has many at a time And if settlements are offered, he will have done very little for that money. My attorney has done nothing more than read and except my file then added it to the stack, because they are confident of settlement and I’m put on a tier….they don’t even have to argue at my settlement hearing because I am just thrown to a tier. If an attorney has even 5 of these cases stacked up he will make more than all of those clients put together, because they will still have medical leins to pay out of their part, not to mention how far in debt they have gone because they couldn’t work from this devastation. So all I want to know is he talks the talk, will he walk the walk? If not then he truly is no better than the Corporate America he speaks of.

          • Jane Akre says:

            I’m not certain, but wondering if it was possible to negotiate the percentage a law firm takes…. say 33.3 percent and expenses OR 40% and no expenses… OR 25%…I know that ship has sailed, but wonder if that is ever negotiable. No one who is not mesh injured can truly appreciate what you are going through and I’m sorry, but I can imagine the mesh makers love it when there is discord among Plaintiffs and their attorneys….. it’s very sad all around. I’m grateful Mr. Lewis is helping us all understand. I’m not an attorney. Thank you.

          • me says:

            I need to clear a mistake I made up….

            I wrote a comment addressing Mr .Lewis when in fact it was not him. For that I am truly sorry. That comment should have been directed to bajah. And I have to stress my concern over a fellow meshes that replied with that kind of statement…I have to say that is the kind of stuff that incites anger in already angry people.

        • anonymous says:

          Yahoo poop ME!!! Way to go, right on! Of course Mr. Lewis won’t take more. he talks the talk but can’t walk the walk. it’s easy to tell someone else what to do when its not you going through the pain and the hell of losing so much. until you walk a mile in our shoes you could not know what we are going through at all. prove to all of us that you’re a man that stands behind what he talks about take less pay 20 percent all of you attorneys you all act like you care so much but you dont its a payday you doing just exactly what everybody else does making a buck problem is you guys make a lot more bucks than those people. being paid almost half of what we get means that you should have had to suffer like us you should have had to go to the losses the pain and agony the long hopeless days and hours and nights of wondering if you ever feel a body that is not in pain again. 40% is really ridiculous for what you guys have had to go through compared to us. but that’s the lawyers game I’d like to see one more old just attorney just say you know what I’m going to go to take 20% wow that would be an angel from heaven and we all know lawyers are not angels. ME I could not have said it better congratulations on what you wrote you were right on and I was glad to read it

  88. Me says:

    Does anyone else think it’s funny that Boston Scientific can afford 1.6 billion to buy Endo but they can only afford to pay injured victims a smidgen of what they should…they should be borrowing money to pay victims and spending the next 50 years in debt and making payments like I have been due to this piece of crap they put in me…..

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