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Missouri Federal Judge Remands Boston Scientific Mesh Trial

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Over 2,500 transvaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed against Boston Scientific, one of the major manufacturers of mesh products. In one of those lawsuits, 67 women together claim that the company failed to provide adequate warnings about the health risks, which include erosion, infections, bleeding, and urinary problems.

The lawsuit was originally filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, but the defendants later removed it to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiffs filed a motion to remand, since one of the women—Carol Dunn—was a resident of Massachusetts, and Boston Scientific is also a resident of the same state. The defendants countered that Dunn was fraudulently joined to thwart removal, but Missouri federal Judge Carol E. Jackson recently disagreed.

FDA Warns of Transvaginal Mesh Complications

All 67 women in this case allege that after being implanted with Boston Scientific’s transvaginal mesh products, they suffered serious injuries, including severe pain, inflammation, and functional disabilities.

On July 13, 2011, the FDA issued a safety communication noting that complications associated with surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse—a condition in which a woman’s pelvic muscles and tissues can no longer completely support pelvic organs—were not rare. They also stated it was not clear that transvaginal repair for the condition was more effective than traditional surgeries without mesh.

Common Questions of Fact in All Transvaginal Mesh Cases

Boston Scientific argued that the women in this case were implanted with six different devices using four different placement options, so they did not have "common issues of fact" as would be appropriate in cases joined together. Judge Jackson disagreed, stating that common questions of law and fact are likely to arise in this case, and that all the products at issue involve the implantation of polypropylene mesh in the vaginal wall, tethered in place by two arms.

In addition, all plaintiffs make similar claims that the material of the mesh itself is incompatible with human tissue, causing negative reactions, and that the method of implantation creates a risk of bacterial exposure that may cause infections.

Other Transvaginal Mesh Cases Going to Trial

Another transvaginal mesh lawsuit against manufacturer Ethicon went to trial in January 2013. The plaintiff in that case claimed the Gynecare Prolift device was defective, and caused her to have to undergo 18 additional corrective surgeries. She was recently awarded $3.35 million in damages.

The next case scheduled to go to trial in the transvaginal mesh MDL involves claims against products made by C. R. Bard, and will take place in the Southern District of West Virginia MDL. Bard currently faces over 1,900 transvaginal mesh lawsuits there.