Tolling Agreements – Legal Deadlines Nearing for Mesh-Injured
by Aaron Leigh Horton
September 12, 2013 – According to USDefinitions.legal.com, a tolling agreement is an agreement to waive a right to claim that litigation should be dismissed due to the expiration of a statute of limitations. Its purpose is typically to allow a party additional time to assess and determine the legitimacy and viability of their claims and/or the amount of their damages without the necessity of filing an action. During this period, the parties waive any defense by way of any statute of limitations, which would otherwise arise during such a period.
What this means for you- my unrepresented mesh-injured friends is that your time is rapidly approaching where the door will shut to enter into the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) Tolling Agreement, which extends to all manufactures of the mesh.
As most of us now know, The MDL is being handled in the southern district of West Virginia, all of the individual federal cases against six manufactures, are being heard by The Honorable Joseph R. Goodwin.
Here is a background story on the formation of the MDL back in February 2012.
Judge Goodwin has made it clear that he wants these 40,000 cases to move through the court quickly. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about transvaginal mesh on July 13, 2011, here. The warning says the benefits of transvaginal mesh may not outweigh the risks. The FDA issued the warning after receiving thousands of reports of mesh-related injuries.
Even though the news was not widely publicized in mainstream media, that is when the clock technically started ticking on public awareness of the issue, in other words when you knew or should have known the mesh is associated with an injury. Given that a two-year statute of limitations has ended, the judge agreed to extend it by 90 to 120 days so the small court in Charleston, West Virginia would not be flooded with cases on deadline day.
All of this means potential claimants will need to file within the next 30 to 45 days approximately before the door shuts on any new cases.
- If you have a claim or think you have a claim – discuss it with a product liability/ personal injury law firm IMMEDIATELY and either have your case actually filed in federal court MDL or filed under the tolling agreement described above.
- The law firm may request you confirm your mesh product ID with your original mesh-implantation surgeon. This can take time, and you must have this information to file a federal case or enter tolling agreement.
- If you have the above information, contact a reputable law firm to include you in the tolling agreement. Then you will have more time to gather and present the facts of your individual federal case.
- Reach out to any friends and family who suspect their symptoms are mesh-related so they do not lose their right to litigate.
For more information please contact your lawyer to make sure your case has been filed or will be filed in a timely manner.
Mesh-injury cases have grown in the Charleston federal court from 10,000 in October 2012 to 21,257 cases in May of this year.
Last week the number had grown to 31,553 cases, all filed in the same federal court naming six mesh manufacturers. See Mesh News Desk Legal here for the latest on mesh-related litigation.
So far there have been two cases against C.R. Bard in this federal court – one of which resulted in a $2 million damage award for the plaintiff and another settled for an undisclosed amount. The third Bard case is scheduled for October 8, Linda Rizzo v. C.R. Bard to be heard before Judge Goodwin.
The case of Christine Scott, filed in Bakersfield, California, resulted in a $5.5 million damage award to Scott and her husband last year.
Late Word* – the case of Melanie Virgil has resulted in a settlement in New Jersey announced September 14. The 56-year-old music teach from Colorado was to go to trial September 23 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The settlement amount is undisclosed. #