On July 29, 2014, a Massachusetts jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Boston Scientific, in its first state court transvaginal mesh trial, Albright v. Boston Scientific Corporation, pending before Judge Diane Kottmeyer in the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In this case, Plaintiff Diane Albright suffered severe pain, erosion, bleeding and other physical problems as a result of being implanted with the Boston Scientific Pinnacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit in August of 2010.
The Pinnacle product was placed to help reinforce weakened muscles in the pelvic region. In addition to product defect claims, Ms. Albright alleged that neither she nor her physicians received adequate warnings regarding the risks and complications associated with the Pinnacle kit. The Albright jury deliberated for two days following the three week trial. Citing Massachusetts state law, the Court did not allow testimony regarding the lack of clinical testing of the product, the defective nature of the polypropylene material or other evidence of Boston Scientific’s failure to provide adequate warnings about the product.
The Albright case was filed in Middlesex County Superior Court in 2012, where there are currently more than 1,700 similar lawsuits pending. This is a small percentage of the total cases pending nationwide against Boston Scientific, with more than 15,000 transvaginal mesh cases on file involving implants for both pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. Most of the cases are consolidated in West Virginia federal court under Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, who is overseeing seven transvaginal mesh-related Multi-District Litigations (MDLs), with more than 60,000 active cases.
There is currently another trial ongoing against Boston Scientific in Massachusetts state court before Judge Kottmyer in Boston. Another trial began the last week in August against Boston Scientific in Texas state court in Dallas. The trial is expected to last at least three weeks and involves claims related to Boston Scientific’s Obtryx, a product designed to treat stress urinary incontinence. Lastly, two trials involving Boston Scientific products are scheduled to begin in federal court in Florida this fall, one involving multiple claims related to the Pinnacle product and the second involving multiple claims related to the Obtryx product.
With respect to C.R. Bard, there are approximately 8,700 claims pending against Bard in MDL No. 2817 before Judge Goodwin. There are currently no Bard bellwether trials set in either the MDL or New Jersey Superior Court. Judge Goodwin issued a Pretrial Order on July 31, 2014, setting more than 300 Bard cases for expedited discovery and trial, which will include depositions of both the Plaintiff and spouse, as well as depositions of physicians and sales representatives who will be deposed by written questions. The Order provides that these cases shall be trial ready by December of this year.
On the Ethicon front, there are more than 18,500 cases currently pending against Ethicon in the federal MDL. The Huskey case, which involves a Gynecare TVT-O stress urinary incontinence product, started on August 25, 2014. This trial is expected to conclude in early September. We will certainly keep you updated on any new transvaginal mesh developments.
If you need more information on the TVM Litigation, please contact Leigh O’Dell or Chad Cook, lawyers in our Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Leigh.Odell@beasleyallen.com or Chad.Cook@beasleyallen.com.
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