Federal Judge Appoints Settlement Master in Ethicon Pelvic Mesh Litigation

vaginal-mesh-TVM-A federal judge has appointed attorney Cathy Yanni of JAMS in San Francisco as the Special Master to administer a settlement reached between law firm Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., and Ethicon in Transvaginal Mesh Litigation MDL 2327.

Judge Joseph Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia ruled on Sept. 8 in a plaintiff’s motion that Ethicon did not oppose. “Subject to approval and Order of the Court, any firm settling claims against Ethicon related to its pelvic repair system products may engage the Special Master to perform the duties as set forth in that party’s settlement agreement.” the court added.

The special master has authority to:

  • Determine that the calculation, allocation, division and distribution of settlement payments among the claimants pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement provides for fair and reasonable compensation for each client based on the facts and circumstances of this litigation, including the risk to all parties of litigation, the cost, the time delay, the medical 2 evidence, the science, the compensation circumstances, and the inherent risk of litigation generally.
  • Serve as a mediator to resolve any disputes that may arise related to the categorization and processing of claims under the terms of the Settlement Agreement.
  • Serve as arbitrator in binding arbitration for any insurance companies or other third parties who agree in writing with Plaintiffs’ Counsel to submit any disputes regarding whether or not health care coverage and reimbursement claims fall within the scope of the litigation and therefore subject to insurance liens or subrogation rights, and if so, the amount of such liens under terms of the applicable agreement between counsel and the insurer.
  • Serve as a mediator of claims as jointly requested by Plaintiffs’ Counsel and Ethicon.
  • Serve as the final and binding arbitrator on any and all Appeals asserted by claimants to the settlement allocation.

Litigation is pending against 8 TVM manufacturers:

  1. Caldera TVM Class Action In California
  2. Boston Scientific TVM Litigation MDL 2362
  3. Bard TVM Litigation MDL 2187
  4. Ethicon (J&J) Transvaginal Mesh Litigation MDL 2327
  5. Neomedic TVM Litigation MDL 2511
  6. Cook TVM Litigation MDL 2440
  7. Coloplast TVM Litigation MDL 2387
  8. American Medical Systems TVM Litigation

In August 2016, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear filed a civil lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its medical device unit, Ethicon, for its deceptive marketing of surgical transvaginal mesh. The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in civil penalties under Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act that prohibits companies from false, misleading, deceptive or unfair acts or practice in trade or commerce.

Transvaginal mesh is a synthetic woven fabric implanted through the vagina to treat common pelvic floor conditions that 30 to 50 percent of all women experience.

In Kentucky, more than 15,000 women had transvaginal mesh implanted without Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon providing sufficient information about the known hazards so women and their doctors could make informed treatment decisions, according to the lawsuit.

Larry Bodine

Attorney Larry Bodine is Editor of Mass Tort Nexus, and the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers. He is the former Editor in Chief of Lawyers.com and the American Bar Association Journal. He is a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University Law School and Amherst College.

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