Verdict in Vaginal Mesh Bellwether Trial Foreshadows Settlements

date: 08/21/2013

RD Legal Funding Offers Settlement Funding to Mesh Plaintiffs and Attorneys

Cresskill, NJ: A jury has decided for the plaintiff in the first of over 4,550 lawsuits in the multidistrict C.R. Bard Inc. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2187). Donna Cisson, who suffered grave internal injuries after the implantation of Bard’s Avaulta Plus Posterior BioSynthetic Support System, was awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages plus $1.75 million in punitive damages. The jury agreed that the mesh’s design was defective and that the manufacturer had failed to warn of associated dangers. Although Bard denies any wrongdoing and says it will appeal, the bellwether trial’s outcome has many believing that more settlements will follow quickly. Once settlement amounts are finalized, RD Legal Funding, LLC (“RD Legal”) can provide accelerated funding to both attorneys and plaintiffs with mesh cases and any other slow-paying legal fees.

Gynecologists use mesh to repair Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) and Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). POP generally develops in older women, especially those who are menopausal women, have had hysterectomies, or whose uterus, bladder and pelvic muscles have become stretched and weakened.  SUI — when urine leaks during coughing, laughing, exercising or other activities — typically occurs after childbirth or during pregnancy. The mesh was implanted abdominally in the 1970s; then in the 1990s vaginal implantation began. Vaginal mesh was implanted into about one third of the 300,000 women who had POP surgery in 2010 alone. That same year, some 80 percent of the 250,000 incontinence surgeries performed on women involved vaginal mesh implants.

Yet as early as 2005 — the year Bard’s Avaulta vaginal mesh went on the market in the United States — safety reviewers reported in The Journal Obstetrics & Gynecology that more than 15 percent of women who received vaginal mesh implantations experienced erosions into the vagina, bladder, intestines and uterus. Health monitoring organizations received complaints of additional complications such as:

  • Infection
  • Pelvic pain
  • Urinary problems and recurrence of prolapse and/or incontinence
  • Urinary retention
  • Bowel, bladder, and blood vessel perforation during insertion 
  • Vaginal scarring 
  • Pain with sexual relations
  • Fistulas and recurrence of prolapsed organs
  • Neuropathic pain

Treatments included surgeries to remove the mesh and deal with other complications, intravenous therapy, blood transfusions and the drainage of hematomas and abscesses.
Donna Cisson, a Georgia public health nurse, received the Avaulta Plus mesh implant in 2009 to treat POP. Cisson experienced bladder spasms, bleeding and severe pain, and then underwent several corrective surgeries to repair eroding and grave internal injuries. The excruciating pain from the mesh’s failure is related to the shrinkage of the material and the near impossibility of removing it once flesh has grown around it. The Avaulta mesh was approved in 2007 by the F.D.A. without human trials because it was similar to other products on the market. Evidence emerged during the trial that Bard knew its polypropylene resin-based mesh was not suitable for human implantation.
Some 20,000 lawsuits alleging injuries from vaginal mesh implants have been lodged against companies including Bard; Johnson & Johnson; Ethicon, Inc.; Endo Health Solutions Inc.’s American Medical Systems; Coloplast Corp.; Cook Medical Inc. and Boston Scientific Corp. All of the companies deny wrongdoing. However, in 2012, the FDA ordered the companies to make three-year studies of rates of organ damage, infection and painful sex linked to the vaginal mesh. Bard pulled Avaulta vaginal mesh off the market in 2012. The Cisson case is the first of four bellwether trials involving Bard’s vaginal mesh. In a 2012 case in California, jurors awarded a patient $5.5 million in total damages due to injuries caused by an Avaulta implant.
Plaintiffs whose implanted vaginal mesh failed have experienced serious consequences. Their financial and physical pain can be eased with the bridge financing settlement funding provides. For the attorneys who have incurred expenses through lengthy litigation, post-settlement funding can be especially helpful. Vaginal mesh plaintiffs and their attorneys are urged to contact RD Legal as soon as their settlement amounts are finalized.

For more information, contact Joseph Genovesi, President of RD Legal, at 1-800-565-5177, ext. 140, or fill out the quick form at the top of this page to begin the application process. Founded in 1998, RD Legal is now one of the nation's leading providers of lawsuit settlement funding.

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