Thousands of women are suing manufacturers of transvaginal mesh devices because of the injuries they allegedly caused them to suffer. Some plaintiffs’ cases have proceeded to trials that have resulted in a total of $18.6 million in damages, but others have settled out of court.
Many mesh implant recipients ask questions about how to obtain a settlement because going to trial can be long and fraught. Here are some answers.
Have There Been Any Settlements?
Yes. The following plaintiffs reached settlements with the manufacturers of their mesh devices:
- In September 2013, Melanie Virgil settled her case with Bard for an undisclosed amount just before her case went to trial in New Jersey Superior Court.
- In August 2013, Wanda Queen settled her case with Bard, likewise for an undisclosed amount. Her case was about to go to trial in federal court in West Virginia.
- In March 2014, Coloplast announced that it intends to settle about 400 lawsuits for $16 million.
What Is the Amount of Compensation?
Usually, the defendant will condition a settlement on confidentiality by the plaintiff. The goal is to allow the manufacturer to maintain its negotiating position with other mesh recipients.
Even without knowing the amount of compensation plaintiffs have agreed to, it’s still possible to estimate the value of a mesh settlement by looking at the kinds of damages a plaintiff can obtain from a trial. Plaintiffs can claim damages for “economic” and “non-economic” damages. Economic damages are quantifiable, like medical expenses and lost earnings. These can be proven in court with documentation furnished by the plaintiff. Non-economic damages cannot be demonstrated so easily. Examples include loss of spousal companionship and pain and suffering. Proving them in court often requires expert testimony.
Because some plaintiffs have suffered severe injuries due to vaginal mesh devices, many can expect significant compensation from a settlement. Three cases did not settle and resulted in substantial jury verdicts.
- In August 2013, Donna Cisson won an award of $2 million in her suit against Bard in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
- In February 2013, Linda Gross was awarded $11.1 million to be paid by Ethicon in Superior Court of Atlantic County, New Jersey.
- In July 2012, Christine Scott was awarded $5.5 million from mesh maker C.R. Bard in Kern County, California, Superior Court.
- In April 2014, Linda Batiste was awarded $1.2 million in compensatory damages from Ethicon, after a jury in a Texas state court found the company liable for marketing a defective product.
How Long Does it Take for a Mesh Manufacturer to Pay the Amount?
Because a settlement is a private agreement between two parties, the manufacturer should pay the settlement amount shortly after it is negotiated.
How Do I Get a Settlement?
It’s almost always necessary to file a lawsuit against a device-maker to reach a future settlement. Sometimes the manufacturer will begin negotiating if it feels the case isn’t worth taking to trial; other times it might refuse to negotiate. An accord is neither a certain outcome, nor is it always a preferred one. Some plaintiffs are better off seeking trial, and others are best off using a wait-and-see approach.
Because of the uncertainty surrounding mesh injury settlements, the one thing that plaintiffs do have control over is their choice of legal counsel. The lawyers of the Rottenstein Law Group do everything they can to ensure that women injured by vaginal mesh obtain the compensation they deserve, which can include damages for full medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages. For a free, confidential legal consultation with a lawyer from RLG, click on this link or call 1-800-624-9567.