Bard loses bid to delay vaginal mesh trial proceedings

C.R. Bard ($BCR) suffered a stinging setback in its ongoing vaginal mesh litigation as a federal judge shot down the company's attempt to push back a product liability trial, rejecting Bard's accusation that the judge's earlier comments regarding a potential settlement may have prejudiced the jury pool.

The Murray Hill, NJ-based company last week asked Judge Joseph Goodwin of the U.S. District Court for Southern West Virginia to delay a trial scheduled for February after Goodwin's comments at a Dec. 9 hearing. The judge said at the time that he could not "imagine a corporation facing potentially billions of dollars in verdicts wouldn't find it advisable to try to achieve a settlement for a much lesser sum" and pointed to other "rather large" verdicts from similar cases.

Bard struck back, arguing that Goodwin's statements unfairly swayed potential jurors and made it impossible to hold a fair trial. But Goodwin dismissed the company's motion to delay the proceedings on Jan. 9, saying that Bard failed to demonstrate good cause, MassDevice reports.

The news comes on the heels of more bad tidings for Bard, as the company continues to deal with litigation over its vaginal mesh devices. In October, the company agreed to pay $21 million to settle 500 suits over related products. But in December the company resisted a bid from plaintiffs to consolidate 185 suits related to pelvic mesh implants, arguing that most of the devices under scrutiny are for stress urinary incontinence and that the only case to make it to trial in multidistrict litigation involved a product for pelvic organ prolapse. Lumping the cases together "improperly minimizes numerous factual differences," Bard said at the time.

But the company is scoring wins on other legal fronts, including a key victory in its decades-long battle with W.L. Gore over a stent graft patent. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court upheld a previous ruling that Gore willfully infringed on Bard's patents for the technology, tacking on an extra $205 million to Bard's original $854 million award.

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