A medical device used to treat a form of urinary incontinence in women is the subject of a number of lawsuits. A number of lawsuits have been consolidated. In the past 18 months, 32 lawsuits have been filed against Mentor Corp., a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based cosmetic surgery device manufacturer. In 2003, the company launched the ObTape, a sling that is surgically implanted to treat stress urinary incontinence, which often is brought on by coughing, sneezing or exercise, and is common in women after childbirth. The product was removed from the market in 2006.
In October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while not singling out ObTape, issued a generic alert to doctors warning of complications in surgical mesh devices designed to treat stress urinary incontinence, such as infections, pain and scarring, and erosion of the vaginal wall. Many of these complications are at the heart of the claims in the lawsuits. The only case that went to trial resulted in a Defense verdict in a California court. It’s alleged in the lawsuits that because of the defective device, this ObTape, women have experienced serious medical injuries and problems.
Of the 32 cases filed against Mentor, 29 are in federal courts in various states. The other three are filed in state courts in California. Of those actions, 22 were consolidated in multidistrict litigation before U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land of the Middle District of Georgia. The suits, which were filed in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Oklahoma, involve allegations of negligence, failure to warn and breach of warranty on behalf of multiple women and, in some cases, claims for loss of consortium on behalf of their husbands. A pretrial hearing on the federal actions is set for January 19th.
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