July 29, 2013 — The first “bellwether” trial of more than 23,000 federal vaginal mesh lawsuits will resume after a mistrial was declared earlier this month. A new jury has been selected and opening arguments will be heard today.
U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin is overseeing the trial, Cission v. Bard, which began on July 9. The plaintiff, Donna Cission, was implanted with the Bard Avaulta implant to treat pelvic organ prolapse. She alleges that the implant caused her to suffer chronic pain, bleeding, incontinence, bladder spasms, and two revision surgeries. Her attorneys also allege that the company the manufactured the plastic used in the Avaulta implant warned Bard that it was never designed for permanent human implantation, but Bard ignored the warnings.
After opening arguments, a mistrial was declared after Dr. Lennox Hoyte, a gynecological expert from Florida, told jurors that the Bard Avaulta mesh was removed from the market in 2012. Last year, Judge Goodwin ruled that plaintiffs were forbidden from telling the jury that Avaulta was withdrawn from the market because it could bias the jury.
Judge Goodwin said he declared the mistrial “because I don’t think it’s a bell that can be un-rung. … I think it would have been very difficult for the jury to disregard it.”
Judge Goodwin has already selected three other cases for bellwether trials in the coming months. In the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) process, a jury’s decision in each bellwether trial is important for helping lawyers negotiate the settlement value (if any) for thousands of remaining lawsuits.
C.R. Bard is facing more than 4,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits in a MDL 2187 — C.R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Product Liability Litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Other major manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, American Medical Systems, and Boston Scientific are now facing about 30,000 lawsuits from women who were injured by vaginal mesh.
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