The fourth and final bellwether vaginal mesh lawsuit filed against C.R. Bard has been postponed until January 10, 2014. This case (Jones v. C. R. Bard, Inc, Case No. 2:11-cv-00114) had been slated to get underway on December 3, 2013; however, it was postponed for the third time on November 30, 2013 when U.S. District Court Judge Joseph R. Goodwin officially signed off on Order number 380. Although no official explanation was given for this postponement, the case will still be litigated in a federal court in the Southern District of West Virginia. The final rulings ultimately handed in this case will likely set the stage for what plaintiffs and Bard can expect to face in the nearly 5,300 mesh lawsuits already filed against this mesh manufacturer.
Currently, there are a total of six different vaginal mesh manufacturers – including Bard, American Medical System, Ethicon, Coloplast, Cook Medical and Boston Scientific – facing more than 30,000 mesh lawsuits in the West Virginia federal court. Mentor Corp., another vaginal mesh manufacturer, is facing thousands of additional lawsuits in the U.S. District Court of Georgia.
Results of Prior Bard Bellwether Mesh Lawsuits
Three bellwether mesh lawsuits filed against Bard have already been resolved. In the first case, which got underway in July 2013, the jury awarded the plaintiff – a Georgia woman – a total of $2 million for her vaginal mesh injuries. This settlement included $250,000 in compensatory damages (i.e., damages intended to compensate the plaintiff for her injuries and losses) and $1.75 million in punitive damages (i.e., damages awarded to the plaintiff in an effort to penalize Bard for failing to warn the public about the serious dangers associated with the use of its vaginal mesh slings).
Neither the second nor third bellwether mesh lawsuits filed against Bard ever got through trial. While the second bellwether case was reportedly settled prior to trial for an undisclosed amount, the third bellwether case was resolved when the plaintiff voluntary dismissed her claim.
Allegations in Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits
Regardless of the defendants specifically named in the tens of thousands of vaginal mesh lawsuits that have been filed to date on behalf of women nationwide, all of these cases have similar allegations that specifically contend that the manufacturer of the stated mesh sling:
Failed to adequately test these devices before bringing them to market
Marketed these mesh slings as safe and effective despite knowing about the serious risks associated with them
Failed to properly warn women about the potential serious health complications they could develop as a result of using these slings.
In fact, the Bard vaginal mesh lawsuits also cite the fact that Bard voluntarily recalled its vaginal mesh slings in July 2012 allegedly due to the serious risks associated with these devices and the fact that the FDA had ordered the company to perform additional safety testing on its mesh in order to keep distributing it in the U.S.