Second WV bellwether vaginal mesh case resolved - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Second WV bellwether vaginal mesh case resolved

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The second of four bellwether cases challenging companies that manufactured trans-vaginal mesh has been resolved, attorneys confirmed Aug. 21.

Trial was scheduled for Aug. 21 for the case of North Carolina residents Wanda and Greg Queen, who filed the lawsuit against C.R. Bard Inc. in federal court for the Northern District of Georgia. The case, like several other bellwether cases, was transferred to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

The terms of the Bard settlement are confidential.

Court officials explained that "bellwether" cases are similar cases grouped together and are expected to influence a larger group of cases.

In her suit, Wanda Queen said she was implanted with the Avaulta Solo Anterior Synthetic Support system to treat pelvic organ prolapse.

As a result, Queen asserts she experiences mental/physical pain and suffering, permanent injury, physical deformity, has had surgery or will undergo future surgeries and has impaired physical relations with her husband.

This case comes on the heels of a federal jury verdict awarding a Georgia woman $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1.75 million in punitive damages in the first bellwether case, Cisson v. C.R. Bard Inc.

Donna and Dan Cisson filed the federal suit March 10 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against the New Jersey company C.R. Bard Inc. The case was transferred to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Donna Cisson said she had the Avaulta Plus Posterior BioSynthetic Support system implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse.

Cisson said the product caused her permanent injury and a substantial physical deformity, which caused her to have surgery and will cause her to undergo future corrective surgeries.

Cisson's complaint listed allegations of negligence, strict liability-design defect, strict liability-manufacturing defect, strict liability-failure to warn, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, loss of consortium and punitive damages.

In its answer, the company said Cisson failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted and if Cisson did sustain damages, it was because of negligence of an entity and the company was not responsible.

Bard also alleged injuries and damages may be due to idiosyncratic reactions or pre-existing conditions.

The trial started in early July but ended two days later in a mistrial. The most recent trial began July 29 and went to the jury Aug. 14.

In their Aug. 15 verdict, jurors decided Cisson proved her design defect and failure to warn claim. The jury found that Dan Cisson did not prove his claim for loss of consortium.

The Cisson case is one of four "bellwether" cases: Queen et al v. CR Bard Inc, Rizzo et al v. CR Bard Inc and Jones v. CR Bard Inc.

Officials estimate more than 20,000 trans-vaginal mesh cases have been filed as part of the multi district litigation.

According to the federal court's website, this type of litigation happens when litigation is pending in more than one federal district court involving common questions of fact.

Cases involving civil actions may be transferred by the judicial panel — a group of seven federal judges — to any federal court. In this case, litigation was centralized in the federal courthouse in Charleston.

Pelvic support and repair system products litigation against American Medical Systems Inc., Boston Scientific Corp, Ethicon Inc., Coloplast Corp and Cook Medical Inc. also are taking place in the Southern District of West Virginia.

According to The Bell Law Firm's pharmaceutical products blog, the first trans-vaginal mesh case went to trial in California, ending in the jury awarding $5.5 million to a woman asserting organ damage due to a faulty mesh implant made by CR Bard.

According to the website of Cleveland law firm Anderson Law Offices LLC, if cases are not resolved through multidistrict litigation, they go back to the court in which they were originally filed.

"That the first federal bellwether trial went the plaintiff's way is a very good sign and potential indicator of things to come," said Rochelle Rottenstein, the founder of a New York City-based law firm that represents women asserting injury from vaginal mesh in a released statement.

"This verdict and award—which includes a substantial punitive damages assessment—should send an important message to both Bard and its victims: Selling a product that injures people will not go unnoticed and unpunished. Anyone who has been hurt by a mesh product but who hasn't yet consulted a lawyer about demanding compensation should do so now."