Covidien and C.R. Bard Could Be Moving Toward Mesh Settlement

by Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley

Covidien is not one of the large names associated with pelvic mesh lawsuits.  There are 65,000 product liability lawsuits consolidated in a federal court in West Virginia filed by women alleging life-altering complications from transvaginal mesh.

But look at the fine print, the Dublin-based company is associated with one of the largest defendants, C.R. Bard.

Covidien has two subsidiaries that make pelvic mesh products and has supplied them to a company that is named in the federal litigation – C.R. Bard. Covidien is also named as one of the defendants in the cases filed against C.R. Bard in multidistrict litigation (MDL) No. 2187.

In its July Securities and Exchange Commission report, Covidien announced it plans to take $180 million from third quarter profits to pay the costs associated with those lawsuits. Could it mean a settlement? Or is it what is calculated will be needed to continue to fight women in court?

The $180 million charge reportedly came after discussions with plaintiffs’ attorneys concerning settlements. The company plans to indemnify the maker from certain claims.  In other words Covidien promises to cover the losses.

So far Bard is facing 9,234 cases in the federal court and three bellwether cases were selected to be heard before Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. In one case, Donna Cisson was awarded $2 million in actual and punitive damages.  The second case was settled before it went to trial and the third case was dropped by the plaintiff before going to trial.

At the present time, 200 lawsuits against Bard are reportedly being prepared for trial by sometime in 2015. This does not include the many lawsuits filed around the country in state courts.

OBTape Surgery The lawsuits allege design and manufacturing defects, a failure to warn, a breach of warranty, fraud, violations of state consumer protection laws and loss of consortium. The women allege they suffer severe chronic pain, infections, mesh migration, nerve damage, and mesh erosion among other complaints. Pelvic mesh is a permanent medical device and is not intended to be removed, though a few surgeons around the world are having some success with polypropylene mesh removal.

Covidien is a public limited company with headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. In a February filing, Covidien said there were more than 5,600 pelvic mesh injury lawsuits pending related to products that fall under Covidien jurisdiction.

Covidien is reportedly poised to be purchased by medical device giant, Medtronic Inc, according to that company’s third-quarter report.

The only other mesh settlement offered so far has been by AMS, American Medical Systems, now owned by Endo Health. The company has agreed to pay $830 million to about 20,000 litigants who claim severe pelvic injuries from transvaginal mesh. Details of that agreement, announced in April, have yet to come to light.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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