Judge Joseph Goodwin of the U.S. District Court for Southern West Virginia, who’s overseeing the MDL against a raft of pelvic mesh makers, tapped 4 cases to serve as bellwethers for the entire set of lawsuits.
The 1st case, Fawcett et al v. Boston Scientific Corp, is set for trial March 10, 2014, Goodwin ruled Oct. 9, according to court documents.
Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific and other pelvic mesh makers including Johnson & Johnson‘s (NYSE:JNJ) Ethicon subsidiary, C.R. Bard (NYSE:BCR), Endo Health Solutions (NSDQ:ENDP), Cook Medical and Coloplast (CPH:COLO B) are embroiled in 10s of thousands of lawsuits filed over transvaginal mesh implants designed to treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence in women. Early this month a report surfaced that 5 of the companies are looking to settle the cases en masse, with Ethicon the lone holdout.
In September, Bard settled for an undisclosed amount a New Jersey lawsuit filed over its Avaulta mesh. The Murray Hill, N.J.-based company settled a 2nd bellwether case in the Avaulta multidistrict litigation in August. The 1st case against Bard originally went to trial earlier this summer, but was halted in July after Goodwin declared a mistrial, ruling that a witness broke his ban on mentioning Bard’s 2012 recall of the Avaulta mesh. The jury in the 11-day retrial of the case, begun July 29, awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1.75 million in punitive damages to plaintiff Donna Cisson.
Endo Health subsidiary American Medical Systems agreed in June to pay $54 million to settle personal injury lawsuits filed over its pelvic mesh products.
In February, J&J lost a bellwether lawsuit over Ethicon’s transvaginal mesh implants amid a federal probe of its marketing of the devices.