Bellwether Vaginal Mesh Trial in MDL Awards $2 Million
Donna Cisson’s vaginal mesh lawsuit was the first of four bellwether trials to reach a verdict. Cisson filed a lawsuit alleging that she suffered from severe pelvic pain, bleeding and need for several repair surgeries due to mesh erosion. The defective product has been linked to thousands of reports which allege similar problems after implantation. A jury in West Virginia awarded Donna Cisson with $2 million in damages over Bard Avaulta vaginal mesh. $250,000 of the money was paid to Donna Cisson for her injuries. The other $1.75 million was awarded in punitive damages to punish the manufacturers for their actions. The jury sided with Cisson saying the Bard Avaulta Plus Posterior Biosynthetic Support system was not only defective, but the company also failed to adequately warn consumers of its extreme dangers.
The bellwether trials serve as an example for parties involved in transvaginal mesh lawsuits. They are designed to help parties assess how a jury is likely to react to evidence and various testimonies. Donna Cisson’s case was the first of over 25,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits to receive a verdict. It is also the first case involving Bard Avaulta mesh to go to trial before Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in West Virginia, where all the cases involving transvaginal mesh are pending. The next bellwether trial began Monday involving a woman, Wanda Queen, and her husband.
Bard Avaulta mesh, like other manufacturers such as Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson, and Cook Medical, is a manufacture of transvaginal mesh. Vaginal mesh is designed to repair pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence in females. Women across the country have filed thousands of lawsuits alleging that they have suffered from serious side effects. The complaints allege that the pelvic mesh systems were not studied thoroughly before being introduced to the market. In the first vaginal mesh case brought by nurse Donna Cisson, evidence was presented that proved Bard knew the plastic used for the mesh system was unfit for humans.
The U.S Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation released an updated case list August 15th which shows there are currently 3,407 Bard Avaulta mesh lawsuits, over 8,000 American Medical System mesh lawsuits, nearly 5,232 Boston Scientific lawsuits, and thousands more from various manufacturers of mesh products. After the completion of the bellwether trials, additional trials are scheduled to begin by the end of this year or the beginning of 2014.The outcomes of these early trial dates might promote further vaginal mesh settlement negotiations.