A federal judge in West Virginia has set the 2014 schedule for bellwether trials of lawsuits brought by women who allege they suffered vaginal mesh injuries from implants manufactured by American Medical Systems, according to court documents. The vaginal mesh firm Rottenstein Law Group LLP notes that the first trial date ordered is April 7, 2014.
The four vaginal mesh lawsuits are set to go to trial in this sequence: Serrano v. AMS, Inc., et al. ( 2:12-cv-03719); Jilovec v. AMS, Inc. (2:12-cv-05561); Weiler v. AMS, Inc. (2:12-cv-05836); and Fontes, et al. v. AMS, Inc. (2:12-cv-02472), according to an order from Judge Joseph R. Goodwin (In re: American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation; MDL-2325, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia). Judge Goodwin is overseeing multidistrict litigations (federal case consolidations) for lawsuits involving six different mesh defendants.
“Lawsuits are chosen for bellwether trials because they are deemed most representative of the body of lawsuits in the multidistrict litigation. They can give valuable insight into how subsequent litigation might transpire,” said Rochelle Rottenstein, principal of the Rottenstein Law Group LLP. “When there are several thousand lawsuits with common cause in a given MDL, this system certainly makes sense.”
There are now almost 40,000 transvaginal mesh injury lawsuits pending in the six MDLs, according to court documents.
Women are filing transvaginal mesh lawsuits alleging they suffered injuries from serious adverse side effects such as pain, discomfort and the erosion of the mesh implant, according to court documents.
Settlements and Verdicts
There have already been a handful of bellwether trials in at least one of the MDLs. Of the three previous C.R. Bard vaginal mesh injury bellwether lawsuits, two had outcomes in which the plaintiff received some kind of compensation. In the first, on Aug. 15, 2013, a jury awarded plaintiff Donna Cisson about $2 million in damages, according to court documents (Cisson v. C. R. Bard, Inc., 2:11-cv-00195; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia). In the second trial, which occurred a week later, plaintiff Wanda Queen settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, according to court documents (Queen et al v. C. R. Bard, Inc., 2:11-cv-00012; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia).
There are also five MDL defendants, including AMS, reportedly considering vaginal mesh settlements, according to a Sept. 30 Bloomberg article.