Three fourths of the “big four” manufacturers of transvaginal mesh implants are continuing to spend money and resources litigating cases instead of compensating victims for damages caused by their faulty products.
American Medical Systems (now owned by Endo Pharmaceuticals) has recently announced its desire to settle and has engaged in discussions with law firms across America in an attempt to settle rather than try cases. Meanwhile, the remaining 3 members of the “big four manufacturers” (Ethicon, Boston Scientific, and C.R. Bard) continue to fight resolution and stonewall the process in a recalcitrant manner.
Judge Goodwin, the federal judge presiding over the Transvaginal Mesh Multidistrict Litigation, has recently ordered the mass workup of 200 cases for both the Bard and Boston Scientific Litigations, and has set an Ethicon PROlift case to be tried in West Virginia this December. This judicial action of mass workup of cases will likely put pressure on the Defendants to either settle cases sooner or otherwise “put their money where their mouth is” and take these cases to trial.
Judge Goodwin’s “200 case workup” case management plan involves a process wherein Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ attorneys each select 100 cases and begin performing discovery procedures such as depositions of plaintiffs, doctors, and working up experts in order to support their cases. Strategically, Defendants will typically select 100 cases that involve problems such as “minimal” damages or cases that have “proximate cause” issues such as those wherein the patient has not sought medical care for their problems or received a mesh-related prognosis. On the other hand, Plaintiffs will select 100 of their best cases involving extreme and/or severe injuries that possess minimal “issues” such that if the cases were ever tried, they would hopefully result in a trial victory similar to past Plaintiff wins, which have resulted in compensatory and punitive damages verdicts of $1 million dollars or more.
“Our efforts in this workup will show that litigation firms are serious about trying cases that involve serious injuries and will not fall prey to defendant stall tactics” says Robert Price, an attorney at Levin, Papantonio and member of the Transvaginal Mesh MDL Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. “It’s a shame that these Defendants are necessitating this judicial pressure and bringing upon themselves this expensive and time consuming discovery procedure when they could be using their money and resources to compensate victims of their faulty product,” says Price.
Unlike American Medical Systems, the remaining “big 3” mesh manufacturers continue to engage in stall tactics and decline involvement in any real settlement negotiations in the near future – despite the fact that documents that have come out in depositions and trials show egregious conduct on their behalf AND despite the fact that these manufactures show little faith in the integrity of many of their Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Mini-Sling mesh products to the point that they removed the products from the market shortly after the FDA demanded further studies. Only time will tell if these manufacturers will finally grow up and pay up to the victims of their negligence.