For the third time, the latest transvaginal mesh bellwether trial over allegations that C.R. Bard’s Avaulta mesh is defective has been delayed, this time because the wife of a key witness for the woman bringing the lawsuit has been hospitalized.
The witness is an obstetrician and gynecologist who was scheduled to provide expert testimony about the design of Bard’s Avaulta mesh product, specifically that polypropylene in the mesh can shrink and degrade after being implanted in patients.
However, shortly before the Jan. 10, 2014 trial was scheduled to begin the physician notified lawyers that his wife had suffered a medical problem that caused her to be hospitalized for at least two weeks and would require his attention. The woman’s lawyers then filed a motion that included this language, according to the court file:
“While a continuance will inconvenience all parties and the court, who have prepared for this trial to begin in two days, plaintiff submits that any inconvenience would be far outweighed by the insurmountable prejudice to the plaintiff that would result if she were required to try this case without one of her most critical witnesses.”
This case is one of the bellwether trials selected from thousands of lawsuits filed against Bard and other manufacturers that have been grouped together in a multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court in West Virginia in which women are claiming that the transvaginal mesh products were defectively designed and they suffered mesh erosion, chronic pain, infections, and other complications.
The rescheduled trial was preceded by another federal court trial also involving allegations involving C.R. Bard’s Avaulta transvaginal mesh in which a jury awarded $2 million in damages to a woman who claimed that she suffered serious health problems from the product, according to the court file in the case.
These federal transvaginal mesh lawsuits from across the country have been consolidated under West Virginia U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin.
Defendants include companies such as C.R. Bard, Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon Inc., Boston Scientific Corp. and Endo Pharmaceuticals unit American Medical Systems Holdings Inc.
Transvaginal mesh has been used in hundreds of thousands of operations to repair weakening abdominal muscles in women that weaken in the aging process and cause pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence.
The claims the women are making include allegations that they suffered serious medical problems and expensive costs because the mesh products were defectively designed and failed, causing a myriad of health issues and, in many cases, second operations to repair the damage.