Beasley Allen attorney Leigh O’Dell has been selected to serve on the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for consolidated Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) concerning transvaginal mesh. 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.
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, 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 Plantiffs’ Steering Committee for all four MDLs.
The cases involve lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country by women who have suffered injuries after being implanted with vaginal mesh products for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and/or stress urinary incontinence. According to the FDA, reported complications from of the transvaginal placement of the mesh include erosion of the mesh into 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.
“This is very worthwhile and necessary litigation,” Leigh says. “There are thousands of women who have been injured and are suffering, and many of them are only just learning this mesh may be the cause of their suffering. I feel honored to be able to work on their behalf, and hope to prevent other women from having to go through this same thing in the future.”
Currently, Leigh is investigating cases involving mesh manufactured by Bard, Boston Scientific, Caldera, and Johnson & Johnson.