Bard Said to Settle Vaginal-Mesh Case Set for Trial

C.R. Bard Inc. agreed to settle a woman’s claims that one of its vaginal-mesh implants caused internal problems before a trial set for this month in New Jersey, two people familiar with the accord said.

Bard officials agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to resolve Melanie Virgil’s claims that Bard’s Avaulta Plus insert caused urinary problems, said the people, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the settlement. Virgil’s case had been set for a Sept. 23 trial in state court in Atlantic City, according to court dockets.

It’s the second vaginal-mesh case Bard settled since a federal jury in Charleston, West Virginia, ordered the device maker last month to pay $2 million to a woman who blamed the company’s Avaulta devices for her injuries.

Bard, based in Murray Hill, New Jersey, faces more than 8,000 claims over the Avaulta line of inserts, which women allege can cause organ damage and make sexual intercourse painful when the devices erode. Johnson & Johnson, Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Boston Scientific Corp. face similar claims that their implants, threaded in place through vaginal incisions, shrink over time.

Scott Lowry, a Bard spokesman, didn’t immediately return phone and e-mail messages yesterday seeking comment on the settlement. Don Migliori, one of Virgil’s lawyers, declined to comment yesterday on the settlement.

Cases Consolidated

Many of the implant cases against Bard and other manufacturers have been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin in Charleston for pretrial information exchanges. Other cases have been filed in state courts in New Jersey, Missouri and California.

Bard officials pulled the Avaulta implants off the market last year after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered all makers of the devices to study rates of organ damage, infection and pain during sex linked to their products.

A California state court jury last year found Bard liable for a woman’s injuries related to an Avaulta implant in the first case to go trial in a U.S. court. Jurors said the company should pay $5.5 million in damages. Bard is liable for only $3.6 million under that state’s law.

The West Virginia jury concluded Aug. 15 that Bard should pay $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1.75 million in punitive damages to Donna Cisson, a nurse from Georgia who had an Avaulta Plus device implanted. Cisson said the mesh damaged her organs and caused other ailments, in the first case to be tried in federal court.

Virgil, a junior high school music teacher in Colorado, sued Bard after her Avaulta Plus device began to erode, according to court filings. The 56-year-old women said she needed three surgeries to address urinary problems created by the insert, according to the filings.

The case is Virgil v. C.R. Bard Inc., ATL-L6917-10, Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division, Atlantic County (Atlantic City). The Bard consolidated cases are In re C.R. Bard Inc. Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation, 10-md-02187, U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia (Charleston).

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