Manufacturers of transvaginal mesh have been embattled in a flurry of lawsuits brought by women who have suffered from complications after using the product. However, lawyers for some of the largest makers of the company have recently initiated settlement talks with attorneys representing the plaintiffs. There are currently an estimated 30,000 lawsuits that have been filed in federal court against the manufacturers of the product. With the implementation of potential settlement talks, it is estimated that number could rise to upwards of 50,000 lawsuits.
Attorneys for Endo Health Solutions, Boston Scientific, Coloplast, Cook Medical, and C.R. Bard reportedly started discussing possible settlement plans earlier this month. The only manufacturer named in the lawsuits who is missing from the settlement talks is Johnson & Johnson.
Transvaginal mesh is a medical implant that is used to treat a number of conditions including pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). However, many women who have had the device implanted have suffered serious side effects including erosion of the mesh, organ perforation, painful intercourse, vaginal scarring, recurrence of the prolapse or incontinence, and even infections. Many women have had to have surgery to fix many of the complications caused after having the device implanted.
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs are requesting the presiding judge overseeing the federal multidistrict litigation to appoint a settlement committee. The committee will be comprised of a number of lawyers including one of the attorneys who helped to negotiate a massive $246 billion settlement in the tobacco litigation.
It is the goal of both sides that the settlement discussions will resolve the thousands of cases currently in the court systems. Settlement discussions typically layout which injuries will be compensated, how much each injury should be worth, and what sort of proof that the manufacturer would require to provide the settlement amount.
However, experts caution that plaintiffs should be “cautiously optimistic” about the news of settlement discussions. These settlement discussions are still in the early stages, but it will be important to monitor as talks progress.
While settlement talks are ongoing, manufacturers have already had to pay out large jury verdicts in some cases. A jury in California awarded over $5 million to a woman who had suffered serious side effects from transvaginal mesh, and similarly a West Virginia jury awarded a woman $2 million after she suffered injuries after having the product implanted. One particular manufacturer has already paid nearly $55 million in settlements for an unspecified number of claims. Another manufacturer was ordered to pay over $11 million to a woman who had 18 surgeries to correct the serious complications suffered following the implant of transvaginal mesh.