A West Virginia judge has dismissed around 350 pelvic mesh lawsuits after approving a settlement agreement between plaintiffs and defendant Boston Scientific.
By Laurence Banville
Medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific has settled more than 350 lawsuits filed over the company's line of pelvic mesh products, according to court records released in December 2017. While details of the settlement agreement have not been published, MassDevice reports, Boston Scientific's move to resolve the claims still leaves thousands of similar lawsuits consolidated in the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Alongside approximately 350 plaintiffs, Boston Scientific filed a joint motion for dismissal with prejudice to announce the settlement on Wednesday, December 13, 2017. The confidential settlement agreement was hammered out about a year ago, court records show. The cases at issue were filed some five years ago.
7 Pelvic Mesh MDL Proceedings In West VirginiaTens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed against pelvic mesh manufacturers, who are accused of marketing a dangerous product without providing sufficient risk warnings. Surgeons use pelvic mesh implants to treat conditions like pelvic organ prolapse and female stress urinary incontinence, but patients say the devices lead to chronic pain, urinary complications and the erosion of internal organs.
At one point, around 100,000 women and families had filed pelvic (or "transvaginal") mesh lawsuits against a variety of medical device manufacturers, including C.R. Bard, Johnson & Johnson-subsidiary Ethicon and Boston Scientific. About 50,000 of these claims have now been settled, but thousands remain pending across 7 separate multi-district litigations in West Virginia. Judge Joseph Goodwin continues to preside over the consolidated cases.
Jury Verdicts Mixed On Pelvic MeshBoston Scientific has found mixed results in the limited number of pelvic mesh trials held to date. In 2014, a jury in Florida found in favor of four plaintiffs who claimed they suffered severe injuries after being implanted with the company's Pinnacle mesh. The women were awarded a total of $26.7 million in compensatory damages, a judgment subsequently upheld in a 2017 decision from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
A previous appeals court decision, however, cut in the opposite direction. In May 2017, the US Court Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled against a woman who sued over alleged injuries caused by Boston Scientific's Uphold pelvic mesh, upholding the lower court decision dismissing her claims.
Boston Scientific Has Settled 44,000 Cases To DateSoon after losing the 2014 case, Boston Scientific announced a settlement agreement resolving nearly 3,000 pelvic mesh cases for $119 million. In recent documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company describes the ongoing state of settlement arrangements in more detail:
"As of October 25, 2017, we have entered into master settlement agreements in principle or are in final stages of entering one with certain plaintiffs' counsel to resolve an aggregate of approximately 44,000 cases and claims [...] Of the approximately 44,000 cases and claims, approximately 15,500 have met the conditions of the settlement and are final."At least 31 pelvic mesh trials have now been held across the country. The majority have resulted in verdicts against a medical device manufacturer.