By Avon Alexander, Staff Writer
Medical device manufacturer C.R. Bard was given a legal victory in court this week, after a U.S. District Court judge dismissed dozens of vaginal mesh product liability cases against the company.
In all 149 cases against Bard were dismissed by U.S. District Court for Southern West Virginia Judge Joseph Goodwin, who said that all of the cases had already been compromised and settled. The verdict was also good news for Covidien, a subsidiary of Medtronic, as it had supplied Bard with the mesh which was used in the defective surgical implants, and hence may have been liable. Goodwin’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.
This week’s decision marks a bit of a reversal for Bard. The U.S. District Court’s previous decision, also in 2016, saw Bard lose a $2 million verdict in another mesh case. That case was originally heard by Goodwin in 2013, and resulted in a jury awarding plaintiff Donna Cission $1.75 million in punitive damages and $250,000 in compensatory damages for injuries she suffered as a result of Avaulta pelvic mesh.
Bard appealed the award, claiming that Goodwin had improperly instructed the jury, had improperly allowed the jury to review evidence relating to a resin used to make the mesh, and had excluded key evidence about the medical device’s 510(k) regulatory clearance. After review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the jury decision was confirmed, as the Appeals court ruled that the lower court’s conduct had been appropriate.
Despite the recent dismissals, Bard is not out of the woods yet. In November the company announced it would pay $3.6 million in damages in a separate vaginal mesh lawsuit. And the company, which reportedly has set aside over $200 million to settle approximately 3,000 vaginal mesh cases, will still face over 20,000 lawsuits.