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Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit FAQs

Generally, the term “mesh lawsuit” refers to one of the many federal court lawsuits pending against various manufacturers of transvaginal mesh devices. These lawsuits were originally filed in federal courts all around the country, but have been consolidated into a single forum under multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) laws in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia for pre-trial proceedings. Once pre-trial proceedings have been completed, each case will be returned to the court in which it was filed for trial.

Q:  What exactly is transvaginal mesh? 

A: Transvaginal mesh implants are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and feminine stress urinary incontinence by providing support and stability to pelvic organs, including the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, small bowel, or rectum. The implants are often shaped like slings, or hammocks. The ends of the implant are secured to the pelvic bones, much like the ends of a hammock might be attached to trees. The middle portion of the device is made of synthetic “mesh-like” material, which fits like a hammock around the involved pelvic organ. The device is called “transvaginal” simply because it is surgically implanted through the vagina. The precise materials used to construct the mesh vary among manufacturers.

Q: Why are there so many transvaginal mesh lawsuits?

A:  Unfortunately, the complication rate for a number of transvaginal mesh devices has been extraordinarily high, prompting the filing of thousands of lawsuits. Infection and erosion of the mesh are the most common complications noted among women who have undergone transvaginal mesh implantation. When the mesh erodes into tissues, it often requires several surgeries to remove all of the material. Erosion often causes significant secondary complications, including serious pelvic organ damage and the development of recto-vaginal fistula.

Q: Which transvaginal mesh manufacturers are involved in MDL proceedings?

A: The following is a list of the manufacturers that have been sued, the products included in the suits, the MDL case numbers, and the number of pending lawsuits as of July 10, 2013:

  • Manufacturer: C.R. Bard, Inc.

Product brand names: Avaulta Plus BioSynthetic Support System, Avaulta Solo Synthetic Support System, Faslata Allograft Pelvicol, and Pelvitex Polypropylene Mesh

MDL#: 2187

Pending lawsuits: 3,399

  • Manufacturer: Boston Scientific Corporation

Product brand names: Advantage Sling System, Obtryx Curved Single, Obtryx  Mesh Sling, Prefyx Mid-U Mesh Sling System, ProteGen Sling, and  Prefyx PPS System

MDL#: 2326

Pending lawsuits: 4,622

  • Manufacturer: American Medical Systems, Inc.

Product brand names: SPARC Sling System, BioArc XP Sling, and Monarc Subfascial Hammock

MDL#: 2325

Pending lawsuits: 7,227

  • Manufacturer: Ethicon, Inc. (a division of Johnson & Johnson)

Product brand names: Ethicon TVT, Gynecare TVT, Gynemesh PS, Prolene Polypropylene Mesh Patch, and Secur

MDL#: 2327

Pending lawsuits: 7,117

  • Manufacturer: Coloplast Corporation

Product brand names: Exair, Supris Suprapublic Sling, and Aris Transobturator Sling

MDL#: 2387

Pending lawsuits: 437

  • Manufacturer: Cook Medical, Inc.

Product brand names: Surgisis Biodesign  Anterior Pelvic Floor Grafts, Surgisis  Biodesign Posterior Pelvic Floor Grafts, and Surgisis Biodesign Urethral Sling.

MDL#: 2440

Pending lawsuits: 25

Q: What has to be proven for a manufacturer to be liable?

A:  Under product liability law, all that has to be proven to establish liability is that a product is defective, or “unreasonably dangerous” for its intended use, and that the product caused injury. Whether the manufacturer bears any fault for the defect is irrelevant, as the focus is squarely on the product. This is called “strict liability,” and it makes product liability law unique among other personal injury theories of recovery.

Q: What should a woman do who is interested in pursuing a mesh lawsuit?

A: First and foremost, she should consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable about transvaginal mesh lawsuits. The attorney will be able to advise the patient on the strengths and weaknesses of her case, and will devise a strategy to pursue the claim if warranted. An attorney should be consulted as soon as possible, because each state has its own time limits for filing a product liability lawsuit.