August 26, 2013 — Two weeks ago, a West Virginia jury forced C.R. Bard to pay a $2 million settlement to Donna Cission, the plaintiff in the first federal vaginal mesh lawsuit to go to trial. On August 21, just before the second lawsuit was to go to trial, Bard agreed to a confidential vaginal mesh lawsuit settlement with another plaintiff, Wanda Queen of North Carolina, according to the West Virginia Gazette.
C.R. Bard is facing approximately 4,400 additional lawsuits in the following Multi-District Litigation (MDL): Vaginal Mesh MDL No. 2187.
In the MDL process, a small group of cases are selected for “bellwether” trials to go before a jury. The jury’s decisions in these cases helps lawyers evaluate potential settlement agreements for thousands of similar cases, which can help avoid the burden of individual trials. Two out of four bellwether trials have been settled.
Bard and other manufacturers are facing about 20,000 lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia before Judge Joseph Goodwin. If recent jury verdicts are any indication, billions of dollars could be paid to settle the entire litigation.
On August 16, jurors in Charleston, West Virginia found C.R. Bard liable for injuries caused by the Avaulta vaginal mesh. Donna Cission was awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages for her injuries, with $1.75 million in punitive damages against C.R. Bard. Cission, a public-health nurse from Georgia, got the Avaulta Plus implant in 2009 to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP). When it eroded into her body, she required multiple surgeries to remove the implant.
On August 21, Bard agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by Wanda Queen just before opening statements were scheduled to begin in a trial in West Virginia. Attorneys for Queen alleged that Bard’s Avaulta vaginal mesh was defective. She required six surgeries to correct complications.
The third of four “bellwether” trials in the federal litigation is scheduled to begin on October 8. The plaintiff, Linda Rizzo of Wisconsin, alleges that Bard’s vaginal mesh caused her to suffer mental and physical pain, permanent injury, physical disfigurement, and loss of consortium with her husband.
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