January 8, 2015 — In response to a federal judge warning about the slow pace of settlements for about 12,000 women injured by vaginal mesh, C.R. Bard has asked to delay a trial set to begin next month.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, who is overseeing 60,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits in the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) against five manufacturers, said that juries have already awarded millions of dollars to plaintiffs in several “bellwether” trials.
Bloomberg reported that Judge Goodwin said at a hearing in December in Charleston, West Virginia:
“I can’t imagine a corporation facing potentially billions of dollars in verdicts wouldn’t find it advisable to try to achieve a settlement for a much lesser sum. I base that billions of dollars business on some of the rather large verdicts that we’ve had.”
Judge Goodwin also expressed frustration with the slow pace of settlement talks, warning that the company is gambling with their future by not resolving the litigation and voicing surprise that shareholders have not put more pressure on the company.
According to Law360, C.R. Bard is now arguing that an upcoming trial should be delayed because Judge Goodwin’s comments have “prejudged” Bard’s liability and media coverage has “tainted” the jury pool.
In October 2014, Bard agreed to settle more than 500 lawsuits involving the Avaulta mesh for about $21 million, or an average of $43,000 per claim.
In two cases went to trial in August 2013, women who were injured by Avaulta were awarded multi-million dollar jury verdicts — $2 million awarded to Wanda Queen, and another $2 million awarded to Donna Cisson.
C.R. Bard is accused of failing to adequately design, test, or warn about the risk of the Avaulta mesh implant. Women who were injured claim it erodes into the body, degrades prematurely, and causes complications like bleeding, painful sexual intercourse, bladder spasms, scarring, and other injuries.
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