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2nd vaginal mesh trial to begin in Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The second in a series of liability lawsuits against a manufacturer of vaginal mesh begins Monday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

Wanda Queen alleges the mesh manufactured by C.R. Bard Inc. was defective and that the company failed to provide adequate warning of its dangers.

The case, one of more than 20,000 similar cases pending nationwide, is the second to go to trial. All of the cases have been assigned to Judge Joseph Goodwin, a federal judge for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Goodwin identified four representative bellwether cases to be tried first to help determine how best to handle the remaining litigation.

Last week, after a 12-day trial, a jury awarded Donna Cisson $2 million -- $250,000 in compensatory damages plus $1.75 million in punitive damages -- finding that C.R. Bard failed to warn of the product's dangers and sold a defective product.

Goodwin had earlier declared a mistrial after determining jurors wouldn't be able to overlook a doctor's improper testimony.

Queen alleges that the mesh implanted during her surgery in 2008 was defective and caused her serious injuries including infection, burning sensation and pain, and has required six revision surgeries.

She is seeking damages for her medical bills, pain and suffering and mental anguish and is attempting to recover punitive damages as well.

Goodwin has been assigned the vaginal mesh cases as part of federal multi-district litigation.

Thousands of women contend the New Jersey-based company used materials in its vaginal mesh products that shouldn't be permanently implanted in humans. The mesh material was designed to support deteriorated pelvic muscles and treat urinary incontinence.

The women claim the mesh degrades and shrinks, requiring replacement and causing other medical problems.

Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimate 300,000 women had pelvic organ prolapse surgery in 2010 and mesh was used in a third of the procedures.

Bard contends the mesh was safe for its intended use and had been approved by the FDA.

In 2008, the FDA said it had received more than 1,000 complaints in three years relating to transvaginal mesh products. In 2011, more than 2,800 reports were received about vaginal mesh complications, according to the FDA.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.


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