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Defendants Win in Two Bellwether Transvaginal Mesh Cases

The lawsuits allege that defendants' pelvic mesh implants were defectively designed and manufactured.

Defendants prevailed in two bellwether cases involving polypropylene mesh used in pelvic mesh implants.

  • Secant Medical LLC was dismissed from mass tort litigation underway in Pennsylvania's Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
  • A Massachusetts jury sided with Boston Scientific Corp. on August 29, finding that a transvaginal sling was not defectively designed and the company adequately warned of risks associated with the device. The case of plaintiff Maria Cardenas, No. MICV2012-02912, was one of more than 500 pending in Massachusetts state court before Justice Diane M. Kottmyer

In the Secant case, Judge Arnold New ruled on August 25, 2014 that the company was shielded from liability by the federal Biomedical Access Assurance Act because it provided only one component of a larger product. (In Re: Pelvic Mesh Litigation, Case ID: 140200829).

Report of serious injuries

According to court documents, vaginal mesh lawsuits began to mount in courts around the country shortly after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Public Health Alert in 2008 revealing that it had received 1,000 reports of serious injuries associated with vaginal mesh products over a three year period.

The FDA warned in July 2011 that the number of injuries reported in relation to transvaginal prolapse repair tripled since its prior alert. Most significantly, the FDA modified its previous stance that such injuries were rare.

According to the law firm Bernstein Liebhard LLP of New York, more than 800 transvaginal mesh lawsuits are pending in the Pennsylvania litigation. Like claims filed in other jurisdictions, the lawsuits allege that defendants' pelvic mesh implants were defectively designed and manufactured, and caused women to suffer mesh erosion, infections, chronic pain and other serious vaginal mesh complications.

In addition to the cases pending in Pennsylvania, court documents indicate that more than 60,000 federally-filed transvaginal mesh lawsuits are pending in a number of multidistrict litigations underway in U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia.

Steering committee

Jeffrey S. Grand, a partner with Bernstein Liebhard LLP, is a member of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in several of these proceedings, including American Medical Systems, Inc. (MDL No. 2325), Boston Scientific Corp. (MDL No. 2326), C.R. Bard, Inc. (MDL No. 2187) and Ethicon, Inc. (MDL No. 2327).

In addition to his work on the federal vaginal mesh litigations, Grand is serving as Co-Liaison Counsel in a Multicounty Litigation underway in New Jersey's Atlantic Superior Court involving Ethicon mesh products. He was also a member of the Plaintiff's trial team for its first bellwether trial, which ended in March 2013 with the jury awarding more than $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a woman injured by the Gynecare Prolift device. (In re: Pelvic Mesh/Gynecare Litigation, No. 6341-10).

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