U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia wrote in a pretrial order that plaintiffs’ attorneys were “required to spend tens of millions of dollars without guarantee of success” over nine years, representing 104,000 patients.
“Tens of thousands of cases have been resolved, for a total sum to date of $7.25 billion,” Goodwin wrote, adding that not all cases have been resolved. “These costs continue but are a small part of what the common benefit fund was designed to compensate.”
The court in Charleston, W.Va. has overseen seven multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases rolled into what Goodwin characterized as “super-mega-fund litigation.” A committee of plaintiffs’ attorneys appointed to calculate costs petitioned for the 5% sum to be set aside for their colleagues whose work benefited multiple plaintiffs.
“Given the comparable recoveries and awards in similar-sized MDLs, and that 5% of $11 billion is reasonably comparable under all the circumstances with other MDL common benefit fund awards, the court finds the 5% benchmark for the (committee’s) Petition is very reasonable,” Goodwin wrote. “This litigation is not only one of the largest – if not the largest – mass tort product liability litigations in this nation’s history, but it is the only mass tort products liability litigation in this country that has involved multiple related MDLs, each involving multiple products, coordinated before the same court simultaneously.”
Boston Scientific has won other cases recently, including one in June 2018, in which a jury found that the Marlborough, Mass.-based company was not negligent in the design of its Pinnacle and Obtryx pelvic mesh products and did not fail to warn patients of the risks associated with the meshes, according to court documents.
Boston Sci’s pelvic mesh products drew worldwide scrutiny in 2018 after being covered in a 60 Minutes episode airing claims that the company knowingly purchased inauthentic Chinese plastic materials to make them. The company countered that the 60 Minutes report contained “completely false claims,” and that the story was “irresponsible and misleading.”
Boston Scientific declined to comment on the attorneys’ fees order.
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