Court Closes Vaginal Mesh Suits in Georgia MDL

TVM_Slide_978x250US District Chief Judge Clay D. Land ruled that no new cases will be accepted in MDL 2004 In Re Mentor Corp. Obtape Transobturator Sling Products Liability Litigation, involving defective pelvic mesh implants made by Johnson & Johnson that caused painful infections.

“The Court finds that the primary purposes of consolidation have been accomplished, and the benefit of accepting new cases is marginal,” Judge Land wrote. The MDL was created in December 2008 in the Middle District of Georgia in Columbus, GA, with 22 cases. Since then:

Since then:

  • The MDL has grown to include more than 850 cases.
  • The court has decided more than 100 summary judgment motions.
  • Tried three bellwether cases.
  • Forty-nine cases have been remanded to the transferor court or transferred to the district court where venue is proper for trial.
  • More than 450 cases have been dismissed by stipulation of the parties or order of dismissal following a notice of settlement.
  • Nearly 100 cases have been dismissed voluntarily by the plaintiffs via notice of voluntary dismissal or a motion to dismiss.

Accordingly, the judge requested that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) not transfer any new actions to the MDL after Oct. 31, 2016, and that no new direct-filed actions will be accepted after Oct 31.

Hundreds of women allege that once Mentor’s transobturator vaginal sling known as ObTape was implanted into their bodies, they suffered erosion of internal bodily tissues, including vaginal walls, and most women needed multiple surgeries to correct the problem.

Thousands of transvaginal mesh cases consolidated before Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia

Mentor, which discontinued the product in 2006, is also accused of inadequately testing the device before introducing it in 2003.

“The cases pending in this MDL as of October 31, 2016 shall be managed pursuant to the existing phased scheduling orders, with any recent cases being scheduled so that all dispositive motions shall be ripe in those cases no later than March 31, 2018. With this schedule, the Court anticipates that all cases will be settled, dismissed, or remanded no later than August 31, 2018,” the judge wrote.

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