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Another settlement in transvaginal mesh product liability cases

Another product liability lawsuit against C.R. Bard Inc. has been resolved, according to Bloomberg. The case is the second to settle since mid-August, when a jury in a Charleston federal courtroom awarded a plaintiff $2 million in her claim against the medical device manufacturer.

Both cases are part of the multi-district litigation against Bard and other manufacturers of transvaginal mesh devices. The consolidated cases are being heard here in West Virginia, even though the plaintiffs -- and the companies, for that matter -- come from all over the country.

The plaintiff in the August case claimed that Bard's Avaulta implant caused her pain, bleeding and bladder spasms. The jury agreed with her arguments regarding the device's design defect and the manufacturer's failure to warn about the dangers of the product.

What was most interesting about the case, though, was that the jury was also convinced that the case merited punitive damages -- to the tune of $1.75 million. The jury awarded the plaintiff $250,000 in compensatory damages.

Punitive damages are only allowed if the defendant has acted with malice, wantonness, oppression, fraud or willful misconduct. Bard's misconduct related to clinical trials and pre-market testing of the devices.

Bard has pledged to appeal this verdict, but the company has opted to settle two claims in the weeks since. The details of the most recent settlement have not been made public, although Bloomberg reported that the trial was just days away when the parties reached their agreement. Also, this case was not among the consolidated cases.

Approximately 8,000 cases are pending against Bard and other manufacturers of transvaginal mesh devices -- including Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific Corp. and other big names -- in West Virginia and three other states. Las year, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered transvaginal mesh manufacturers to study patients' outcomes for organ damage and other adverse effects, Bard took Avaulta devices off the market.

Source: Bloomberg, "Bard Said to Settle Vaginal-Mesh Case Set for Trial," Jef Feeley, Sep. 14, 2013 West Virginia Record, "Jurors reach $2M verdict in MDL’s first vaginal mesh trial," John O'Brien, Aug. 19, 2013

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