February 6, 2015 — The federal judge overseeing about 70,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits has urged plaintiffs and manufacturers to come to the table and agree to a settlement.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin told a courtroom packed full of representatives for defendants and plaintiffs that it would take decades to take every case to trial, cost millions, and jeopardize the outcome for injured women at the hands of unpredictable juries.
He said he was going to “kick it into high gear and ask that you do the same,” according to Reuters.
Judge Goodwin oversees Multi-District Litigation (MDL) against seven manufacturers, with billions of dollars at stake. Three companies facing 47,000 lawsuits — C.R. Bard, Ethicon, and Boston Scientific — have all been hit with multi-million dollar losses in “bellwether” trials.
Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, says it can’t settle the litigation until frivolous claims are dismissed. About 22,700 lawsuits are pending against the company, and only about 600 have been resolved or dismissed.
Last month, attorneys for C.R. Bard accused Judge Goodwin of “pre-judging” their liability by saying, “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.”
In October 2014, Endo International Plc. agreed to settle about 10,000 lawsuits for $400 million, or about $48,000 per plaintiff. The settlement resolves “substantially all” of the lawsuits against Endo’s American Medical Systems (AMS) unit, leaving only about 5,000 lawsuits.
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