What is vaginal mesh?
Surgical mesh is a medical device that is used to repair weakened or damaged tissue. It is most commonly used in surgeries for repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and for treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
There are many different manufacturers of surgical mesh, including:
- C.R. Bard
- American Medical Systems Holdings
- Boston Scientific
- Johnson & Johnson
The FDA has recently issued several safety updates concerning surgical mesh warning of serious complications associated with surgical mesh for repair of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and for treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The FDA is also concerned that the use of mesh in these procedures is not any more effective than having these procedures without mesh. Based on these findings, the FDA is requiring manufacturers to submit study plans to the FDA addressing safety and effectiveness concerns related to surgical mesh devices.
Do I have a vaginal mesh case?
Women with mesh implants may experience erosion of the mesh through the vaginal walls or other organs within weeks or months after surgery. In some cases, the mesh has tightened or shifted, causing it to protrude into the vaginal canal. There is little recourse but to surgically remove pieces of the mesh, often requiring several surgical procedures. However, frequently the mesh cannot be removed completely and even after several corrective surgeries, complications may continue. Lawsuits are being pursued against the mesh manufacturers for failing to thoroughly test surgical mesh for transvaginal placement before marketing it for that use.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved transvaginal mesh products based upon their similarity to older products, some of which have been recalled. But now the FDA has stated that the mesh may not offer any benefit over older, less-risky approaches for treatment. Many mesh products have been pulled off the market, but not before thousands of women were injured. Mesh manufacturers now face over 18,000 claims in federal court and 4,000 lawsuits filed in state courts.
What to expect from a transvaginal mesh lawsuit
Most personal injury lawsuits are individual actions between the injured party, or plaintiff, and the liable party who is sued, the defendant. But for groups with injuries from the same common defective product, such as the claims vaginal mesh, individuals may choose to have their cases combined before a single judge. If the court is a state court, then the combined cases are a mass torts case. If in federal court, then the case is referred to as MDL (for multi-district litigation, acknowledging that the claims arise in different states.) In both MDL and mass tort cases, the judge handles the pretrial proceedings, thus saving all parties time and money. This approach also sets precedence in statements of fact and allows for consistency in court rulings. But each individual plaintiff retains her own lawyer and her individual lawsuit is heard separately. In mass tort cases or MDL, plaintiffs have the right to argue their unique damages.
These are not class actions. A class action lawsuit is brought by a large group of people with identical complaints and injuries. All of the plaintiffs are grouped together in one lawsuit for which, if successful, there is a single award or settlement shared among all plaintiffs.
Currently, there are six mesh MDL currently before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia under Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin:
- MDL – 2187, IN RE: C.R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic RepairSystem Products Liability Litigation: 2,938 cases
- MDL – 2325, IN RE: American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation: 6,028 cases
- MDL – 2326 IN RE: Boston Scientific Corp. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation: 3,557 cases
- MDL – 2327 IN RE: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation: 5,763 cases
- MDL – 2387 IN RE: Coloplast Corp. Pelvic Support Systems Products Liability Litigation: 320 cases
- MDL – 2440 IN RE: Cook Medical, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation: 13 cases
The first case from this group of MDL went to trial July 2013, and a second trial will begin in December 2013 against American Medical Systems, Inc. (MDL No. 2325). Next come trials against J&J’s Ethicon, followed by those against Boston Scientific. Mentor Corp. is also facing a MDL for its ObTape vaginal sling in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. MDL No. 2004, presided over by Judge Clay D. Land. Two women have taken their cases to trail; one received a $5.5 million award from a California jury in July, 2012 after the patient underwent nine revision surgeries. In February 2013, a New Jersey jury found that Johnson & Johnson made fraudulent representations and awarded the patient $11.11 million. Testimony showed that the patient had suffered through 18 surgeries.
As with any defective product case, you should seek compensation for economic losses such as medical expenses (including those paid by your medical insurance provider) and loss wages for both the past and future. These are typically expenses easily supported by documents, such as payroll stubs and medical bills. More challenging are the losses for which there are no hard measure – a permanently impaired body or the diminished ability to enjoy life are losses that also deserve valuation. Both the economic losses and the non-economic injuries are legitimate elements of the damages for which you look to the negligent mesh manufacturer for compensation. Read more about damages. These cases are already progressing, so if you believe you have a mesh claim, act promptly – it is important that you make sure your claim is filed within applicable time limitations.
For answers about your vaginal mesh claim, call for a free consultation
Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker is dedicated to helping individuals who have suffered serious injuries, including individuals who have suffered injuries due to surgical mesh and other defective devices. Unlike the nationwide referral firms you see on TV or the internet, the lawyers at Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker will personally handle your case from start to finish. With Chalat Hatten Koupal, PC, you will have a local lawyer who will pick up the phone, discuss your case with you, meet with you face to face, and respond to your emails.
Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker has secured some of the biggest verdicts in Colorado history on behalf of our clients, including the largest medical malpractice verdict in the state for 2007 ($10.1 M), and the largest automobile accident judgment in the state for 2010 ($18.2 M).
Individuals who have been diagnosed with vaginal mesh complications need a local, experienced lawyer who will answer the phone and help them obtain the compensation they deserve – they don’t need to be passed off on a paralegal or a “case manager” who is not a real lawyer. Don’t let your case get lost in the shuffle by hiring a law firm in California, Florida or Texas. Call a local, Colorado-based lawyer and get the personal service you need – call Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker today.