In March of this year, Coloplast settled about 400 vaginal mesh-related liability claims to the tune of $16 million. The vaginal mesh devices Coloplast produced and marketed, including the Novasilk-Synthetic Flat Mesh System and the Aris-Transobturator, are intended to support internal organs and are used after hysterectomies and to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The settled claims alleged the implants caused complications including perforated organs, pelvic pain, and infections. Each of the women in the settled lawsuits is to receive $40,000.
Over the last couple of years, the number of vaginal mesh device product liability claims has grown exponentially. Claims have been filed in both state and federal court, though more than half are currently in federal courts. Because there are thousands of mesh liability claims currently in federal court, the majority of the remaining Coloplast claims and claims against other mesh manufacturers have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a West Virginia federal court under the supervision of U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin.
When the courts are faced with thousands or tens of thousands of cases with similar claims and theories, the courts do not have the capacity to handle each of the cases individually. Case consolidation combines most, if not all, of the cases with similar claims and theories and assigns those cases to one judge. The consolidation allows the judge to facilitate a smoother information flow, reduce duplication in discovery, make more consistent pre-trial rulings, and preside over bellwether trials.
Bellwether trials are those trials that address widely contested issues using plaintiffs believed to have the most representative facts and evidence. The outcomes of bellwether trials are used as indicators for the outcomes of future cases and future valuations on damages. The courts use bellwether trials to encourage other cases to seek settlements instead of trials. For instance, one of the most recent bellwether trials resulted in a jury verdict awarding a plaintiff $11.1 million; $3.5 million for compensatory damages and $7.76 million in punitive damages. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for an injury, while punitive damages are meant to discourage the manufacturer from continuing its injurious practices. As a result of this and other costly bellwether trials on vaginal mesh devices, the mesh manufacturers are increasingly seeking settlements.
As a consumer you have the right to safe, effective devices. If you or someone you know has a Coloplast implanted vaginal mesh device and believe you have suffered injuries related to the mesh device, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact your doctor about your symptoms and then contact our knowledgeable attorneys to discuss your claim at no cost. Or complete our Free Vaginal Mesh Case Review form and our top-rated legal team will evaluate your claim. We are looking forward to working with you.