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Covidien and C.R. Bard May Be Planning to Settle Pelvic Mesh Litigation

Feb 10, 2015

Covidien and C.R. Bard are potentially moving towards settlement of pelvic mesh litigation. There are thousands of lawsuits alleging that transvaginal mesh devices caused severe and painful complications in women; 65,0000 product liability suits have been consolidated into multidistrict litigations in West Virginia before Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. Although Covidien is not heavily associated with transvaginal mesh products, the Dublin-based company has two subsidiaries that supplied mesh products to Bard, one of the biggest defendants named in the transvaginal mesh litigation. C.R. Bard is one of the manufacturers involved in the West Virginia multidistrict litigation, MDL No. 2187.

A report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in July shows that Covidien intends to use $180 million from its third quarter profits to cover the costs associated with pelvic mesh litigation. It is possible that this money may be used towards a settlement, or towards costs needed to fight the cases in court. The company decided to allocate the money towards the litigation after meeting with plaintiffs' attorneys. “During the quarter ended June 27, 2014, Covidien received additional information regarding the nature of products liability claims and potential exposure based on access to medical records, discussions with plaintiff attorneys and settlements by other manufacturers. Accordingly, Covidien recorded a pre-tax legal charge of approximately $180 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2014.” the report states.

There are 9,234 pelvic mesh lawsuits filed against Bard in the federal court. Three bellwether cases were chosen, with one resulting in $2 million in actual and punitive damages for the plaintiff. Another case reached a settlement before the trial began. Reportedly, 200 mesh lawsuits against Bard are being prepared for trial by sometime this year. Additionally, there are a number of suits filed in state courts.

The lawsuits allege that the devices are defective and that the manufacturer failed to warn about the risks. Women allege injuries that are often painful and sometimes permanent, including severe chronic pain, mesh erosion and migration, nerve damage, infections, painful urination and intercourse and organ damage.

American Medical Systems (AMS), who is now owned by Endo Health, is the only device maker thus far to offer a settlement. In April, the company said it agreed to pay $830 million to 20,000 plaintiffs alleging that the mesh caused serious injuries.

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