Thousands of women have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of transvaginal mesh surgical products and the doctors who implanted the mesh after experiencing serious complications. Women may be eligible for compensation for:
- Medical expenses, past and future, including the costs of additional surgeries to remove the mesh or address complications or failure of the original surgery
- Lost wages
- Lasting damage
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of spousal consortium (loss of companionship due to extended medical care, inability to engage in sexual intercourse)
In some cases, spouses have been able to recover money in their own right on the grounds of loss of spousal consortium.
Many women who have suffered transvaginal mesh complications have filed suit against the makers of the transvaginal mesh that was used in their operations. Most of these lawsuits blame the mesh manufacturers, not the surgeons who implanted the transvaginal mesh. In other words, if you are suffering complications from transvaginal mesh surgery, you may be able to receive compensation without suing your own doctor. In many cases, surgeons relied on information provided by mesh manufacturer and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). This information failed to fully reveal the dangers associated with this product, meaning your doctor was kept in the dark to the same extent you were. For this reason, in the main, transvaginal mesh litigation has focused on manufacturers.
To date, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of transvaginal mesh by women who suffered complications as a result of transvaginal mesh implantation surgery. To read more about possible complications, read our Complications page. Some of these lawsuits have been won or settled with very favorable outcomes for the plaintiffs (the women injured by the mesh). Our firm represents over 1000 clients with claims against mesh manufacturers. Although many of our clients’ claims are already included in confidential settlements, the following are some examples of results from transvaginal mesh lawsuits tried by other law firms which have been reported publicly:
- Bard stopped selling its Avaulta Plus mesh products in July 2012. That same month a jury in California Superior Court found the company liable for $3.6 million in damages. Christine Scott had received an Avaulta Plus implant that caused irreversible injuries. That was the first transvaginal mesh case to go to trial. Nearly 2,000 federal lawsuits against Bard have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation in West Virginia, and a number of state cases are pending.
- In February 2013, a New Jersey Superior Court jury required Johnson & Johnson to pay $11.11 million ($7.76 million punitive, $3.35 million compensatory damages) after Linda Gross suffered complications from its Ethicon mesh products. The jury found that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn Ms. Gross’s doctor of potential complications from the mesh. Johnson & Johnson is facing nearly 4,000 federal lawsuits and countless suits in state courts concerning its mesh products.
- In June 2013, Endo paid $54.4 million in an out-of-court settlement to resolve an undisclosed number of suits over its transvaginal mesh devices. This was the company’s first set of vaginal mesh settlements. Endo has now agreed to pay almost $1.3 billion in total to resolve suits over the implants.
- Coloplast agreed in March 2014 to pay about $16 million to resolve 400 claims. Women in those cases are receiving an average of $40,000 each.
- In September 2014, a jury in Texas ordered Boston Scientific to pay $73 million in punitive and compensatory damages to Martha Salazar, who was injured and left in constant pain by its Obtryx sling. Punitive damages were later reduced in the case to comply with Texas law, reducing the total judgment to $34 million.
Despite these settlements, many lawsuits are still pending.
Tens of thousands of transvaginal mesh lawsuits have now been filed in state and federal courts. In fact, so many have been filed at the federal level that the courts have consolidated more than 60,000 cases into multi-district litigation (MDL), a special federal legal procedure designed to speed the process of handling complex cases involving common questions of fact such as, “Is the manufacturer of my transvaginal mesh liable for the injuries it caused me?” In this procedure, similar cases from across the United States are all consolidated in one federal district court and all are handled in similar fashion by a single judge. Following is a list of transvaginal mesh MDLs:
- C.R. Bard, Inc. (Multidistrict Litigation No. 2187)
- American Medical Systems, Inc. (Multidistrict Litigation No. 2325)
- Boston Scientific Corp. (Multidistrict Litigation No. 2326)
- Ethicon, Inc. (Multidistrict Litigation No. 2327)
A separate MDL involves lawsuits over Mentor ObTape, which is a bladder sling, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, and in Canada, a class action lawsuit has been filed against Johnson & Johnson over transvaginal mesh products.
In a similar fashion, some state courts have consolidated proceedings for transvaginal mesh cases. For example, there are currently two consolidated proceedings established for C.R. Bard and Ethicon mesh lawsuits in New Jersey’s Atlantic Superior Court.
Basis for a Claim
There are many circumstances that might provide the basis for a lawsuit, including, but not limited to, failure of the manufacturer of the mesh to meet its legal obligations as set forth by the FDA. You may have additional grounds for bringing a claim against the physicians, hospital, and other caregivers involved in your surgery.
Each case is different and each patient is distinct. An expert attorney with a thorough understanding of the law as well as the facts regarding mesh implants, their manufacture, and the complications that may arise can help you evaluate the unique circumstances of your case, determine your options, and advise you on how to proceed.
If you do have grounds for a lawsuit, it doesn’t mean those responsible for your suffering will simply write you a check. The manufacturers and physicians have deep pockets, lawyers, and insurance companies on their side. Confronting them requires skill and fortitude — you need an advocate who will fight for the just compensation to which you are legally entitled.
Some of the legal grounds on which you might have a case against a manufacturer include:
- Negligence: Device manufacturers have a duty to design, produce, label, and market a product to avoid harm to the public. Complaints state that these companies are “guilty of carelessness, recklessness, negligence and willful, wanton, outrageous and reckless disregard for human life.”
- Fraudulent misrepresentation: Defendant companies presented their products as safe and effective, when they were not.
- Failure to warn: Mesh manufacturers did not warn the public that mesh might, and in fact did very early on, fail to implant correctly and cause complications.
- Failure to properly test: Mesh manufacturers did not properly test these devices before selling them.
- Consumer risk: Mesh manufacturers were aware of the dangers of vaginal mesh but continued to profit from their sales.
- Failure to recall: Mesh manufacturers did not stop selling the product even though there was early evidence of the harm it could cause.
Statute of Limitations
As with any product liability or personal injury litigation, there are strict statutes of limitation. You only have a limited amount of time to file a suit once your adverse symptoms begin. These limitations vary by state and jurisdiction. In the case of at least one mesh manufacturer, Coloplast, the company entered into a tolling agreement, a procedure that could mean plaintiffs who were previously prevented from filing a case against the company due to statute of limitations can now file a complaint. If you suffered complications from a Coloplast mesh implant and missed the window for filing suit, you may still have a chance to make a claim and collect damages.
In most cases, however, you do not get a second chance. It is therefore imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as you begin to experience adverse symptoms because that’s when the countdown begins.
Steps to Filing a Lawsuit
In order to file a lawsuit and receive just compensation, we must first conduct an investigation to establish that injured by transvaginal mesh. We will order your medical records and review them at no charge to you. Once we conduct this review, we will discuss when and where to file a claim on your behalf. We will also identify the manufacturer of the mesh used in your procedure; a comprehensive list of the manufacturers of transvaginal mesh is included on our Manufacturers information page. You will never owe us anything unless we obtain a recovery for you.
We Can Help You
Additional activities may be required depending on the unique circumstances of your case, and there are numerous legal procedures to complete. It may feel overwhelming to tackle all this work and take on a confrontation with a big medical device manufacturer while you are dealing with chronic pain or other complications from your POP or SUI surgery. Avram Blair & Associates P.C. can help. That’s what we’re here for. We have experience handling these types of cases and we have staff standing ready to help you.
Call Avram Blair & Associates P.C. at 919-729-5152?? or fill out our contact form for a free consultation. We will listen to your story, assess your chances for a successful claim, advise you on how to move forward.