P. Leigh O'DellShareholder | Medical Devices and Drugs
Leigh O’Dell practices in our Mass Torts section. Currently, her focus is on product liability actions involving Gardasil and transvaginal mesh.
Gardasil is a vaccine manufactured and marketed by Merck & Co. Inc. for the prevention of cervical cancer. The vaccine targets four types of human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus linked to the development of cervical cancer. However, since Gardasil’s introduction in 2006, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has received more than 20,000 reports of adverse side effects reportedly related to Gardasil. These reports include serious adverse side effects including Guillain Barŕe, lupus, seizures, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, among others. There also have been 92 reported deaths among girls who received the vaccine.
Transvaginal mesh is used to repair conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The mesh is implanted through the vagina and is used to shore up pelvic organs that have become displaced due to age, childbirth, hysterectomy or obesity. According to the FDA, reported complications from of the transvaginal placement of the mesh include erosion of the mesh into the vaginal tissue, organ perforation, pain, infection, painful intercourse and urinary and fecal incontinence. Often women require surgery to remove the mesh. In some cases, this can require multiple procedures without successful removing all of the mesh. Currently, Leigh is investigating cases involving mesh manufactured by American Medical Systems, Bard, Boston Scientific, Caldera, and Johnson & Johnson.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation recently granted motions to create MDLs against three transvaginal mesh manufacturers and transfer the MDLs to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, under Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. Centralizing the litigation in the Southern District of West Virginia makes the pretrial proceedings more efficient, conserves judicial resources and avoids the risk of inconsistent rulings.
The recent JPML order created MDLs against American Medical Systems, Inc. (MDL No. 2325), Boston Scientific Corp. (MDL No. 2326) and Johnson & Johnson (MDL No. 2327). Since 2010, Judge Goodwin has also been overseeing a MDL against another transvaginal mesh manufacturer, C.R. Bard, Inc. (In re Avaulta Pelvic Support Systems Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2187).
On April 13, 2012, Judge Goodwin held a hearing to consider what MDL attorneys will be appointed to serve as counsel for the plaintiffs in the consolidated transvaginal mesh litigation. Leigh O’Dell was appointed as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for all four MDLs.
Prior to her involvement with Gardasil and transvaginal mesh litigation, Leigh devoted more than six years to the Vioxx litigation. She was a member of the trial team for five of the 17 bellwether trials that took place throughout the country. Leigh also served on various MDL committees, including the law and briefing, trial package and settlement liaison committees.
Leigh began practice at Beasley Allen in 1994. In 1998, she left the firm for full-time ministry, first with Focus on the Family as Director of Women’s Ministries and then six years with Anne Graham Lotz as Director of Revivals. These years of working with God’s people around the world gave Leigh not only the opportunity to witness thousands of lives changed for God’s glory, but to grow in her love for Jesus as she walked by faith through many challenging and stretching situations. Her years of “adventuring” with the Lord in vocational ministry have been transformational as she continues to serve Him in law practice. Leigh returned to the firm in 2005 to join the Vioxx litigation team.
Leigh earned a degree in Accounting from Auburn University in 1990. She graduated from law school at the University of Alabama School of Law, in 1993. While in law school, Leigh served as Managing Editor of the Alabama Law Review and received the Dallas Sands Outstanding Senior Award. Following law school, Leigh had the honor of serving as a law clerk for the late Honorable Ira DeMent, United States District Judge for the Middle District of Alabama.
She is a member of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, Montgomery County Trial Lawyers Association, American Bar Association and Christian Legal Society. Leigh also was selected for inclusion on the 2011 and 2012 Best Lawyers in America list, published by U.S. News & World Report.
Leigh is originally from Prattville, Alabama. The daughter of the late Billy O'Dell and Beverly O'Dell Malone, Leigh enjoys spending time with her large family, reading, tennis, as well as participating in other sporting activities.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (1995)
- United State District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (1994)
- Alabama State Bar (1993)
- Alabama Trial Lawyers Association
- Montgomery County Trial Lawyers Association
- American Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association
- Christian Legal Society
- Jimmy Hitchcock Award - Board of Directors
- Judson College - Board of Trustees
- AV Rated
- Best Lawyers 2012
- Best Lawyers - Montgomery Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year”
- University of Alabama School of Law (J.D., 1993)
- Auburn University (B.S., Accounting, 1990)
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