Friday, November 13, 2015

J&J Unit Settles Proposed Bellwether In Vaginal Mesh MDL - Law360

J&J Unit Settles Proposed Bellwether In Vaginal Mesh MDL - Law360

by Joe Van Acker

Law360, Los Angeles (November 12, 2015, 3:12 PM ET) -- A Johnson & Johnson unit accused of making defective pelvic mesh implants that cause painful infections has reached a settlement in a would-be bellwether trial that was scheduled to begin this month, according to a filing Wednesday in Georgia federal court.

Mentor Corp. reached a deal with Beryl Cole and Roger Gupton, whose complaint regarding the company’s ObTape sling was among six designated as bellwethers by U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land earlier this year and was slated for a two-week jury trial starting Nov. 30.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The couple’s complaint was one of hundreds against Mentor that were consolidated in multidistrict litigation. After being implanted with the ObTape device in 2004, Cole claimed in 2011 that, like many other recipients, she suffered infections, abscesses and scarring, requiring multiple surgeries.

One day before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the ObTape suits, the company settled 111 of them in one fell swoop, agreeing to establish a trust to manage and distribute funds agreed upon in 2014.

Mentor had settled another proposed bellwether case in July 2013 shortly before trial.

Following Wednesday’s settlement, just two of the proposed bellwether trials against Mentor remain in play. Judge Land previously granted the company’s motions for summary judgment in one case in August and two more in October.

Judge Land found that the patients in those three suits all knew, or should have known, that their medical problems were linked to the ObTape sling years before they sued, putting their claims beyond the statute of limitations.

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