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Transvaginal Mesh Defects and Products Liability Law

Women who have given birth multiple times may experience pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI) as a result of weakened pelvic muscles. In POP, the woman’s pelvic organs drop below their normal positions due to weakened or stretched out muscles. In SUI, the weakened pelvic muscles cause the woman to release urine involuntarily when she exercises, sneezes, laughs, or coughs.

Physicians have treated hundreds of thousands of women in the United States for POP and SUI by implanting transvaginal mesh devices – surgical mesh that’s implanted through the vagina in order to strengthen the pelvic muscles. However, in recent years transvaginal mesh has been the subject of numerous recalls and lawsuits.

The Problem with Transvaginal Mesh

Unfortunately, numerous women have reported experiencing serious and debilitating health issues after receiving transvaginal mesh implants. Mesh erosion is the most commonly reported complication. Oftentimes, transvaginal mesh will erode and break off into pieces. The sharp edges of the broken mesh fragments can cut vaginal tissue and perforate nearby organs. The mesh can also become entangled in the tissue, making it difficult to remove. As a result, women often must undergo multiple surgeries to remove the mesh.

Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits and Products Liability Law

As a result of these complications, tens of thousands of lawsuits over transvaginal mesh defects have been filed throughout the nation. Many of the lawsuits have been consolidated into various multidistrict litigation matters in the federal courts. These lawsuits are not class action lawsuits. After pretrial proceedings are completed, any pending lawsuits will be transferred back to the original courts to be tried individually. There are also other transvaginal mesh lawsuits pending in various states throughout the United States.

Transvaginal mesh defects’ lawsuits are generally based on a theory of product liability. Under product liability law, manufacturers and sellers of medical devices have an obligation to ensure that their products are free of any dangerous defect that may harm consumers. If a manufacturer or seller fails to do this, it may be liable for any injuries that result from the defective product.

The Types of Product Defects

There are three types of defects that can cause a product to be dangerous to consumers: design defects, manufacturing defects, and defects in warning. A defect in design is a flaw in a product’s design that makes it harmful to users. A major allegation in the transvaginal mesh defects lawsuits is that the mesh products were defectively designed since they broke apart and eroded after only a short period of time.

Most states have strict liability laws for product liability matters. In strict liability, a manufacturer is generally liable for any injuries caused by a product defect, regardless of the manufacturer’s fault in the matter. With respect to the mesh cases, plaintiffs have argued that the manufacturers are strictly liable because the implants were unreasonably dangerous and the risks associated with the devices outweighed the benefits of their use.

Manufacturers also have a duty to warn consumers about any unexpected dangers associated with their products. If a manufacturer provides inadequate warnings about the dangers involved with its device, and a consumer is injured as a result, the manufacturer may be liable for providing defective warnings. In most states, the rules of strict liability apply to defective warnings as well. In the lawsuits regarding transvaginal mesh defects, plaintiffs have claimed that the mesh manufacturers are strictly liable because they failed to warn patients about the possibility of mesh erosion.

Finally, manufacturers and sellers may be liable for defects that occur during the manufacturing process. A manufacturing defect occurs when a product that does not meet the manufacturer’s own intended requirements is put on the market. Most states have strict liability laws that pertain to manufacturing defects as well. For example, a plaintiff in a transvaginal mesh defects case may argue that the mesh she received had a manufacturing defect because the device deviated from its intended design, causing it to be unexpectedly dangerous.

Compensation for Mesh Injuries

If a jury finds in favor of the injured patients, transvaginal mesh manufacturers could be held legally liable for damages, including any lost earnings, pain and suffering, and medical expenses that resulted from the transvaginal mesh defects. Patients who’ve been injured by transvaginal mesh should consult with an attorney to learn more about their legal options. Because a law called a statute of limitations generally restricts the time to file a lawsuit, patients shouldn’t delay in meeting with an attorney.